main idea: the pay gap is a political talking point but is it real?
During our time off Jessica made an appearance on “Mr. ‘Murica, The Bearded Truth” with Jason Lyon over on Muddied Waters Media to have a discussion about empowering women. It was a pretty lively conversation, touching on several different pieces of the conversation around inequality.
It is a big conversation, and one that cannot be condensed into an hour long podcast episode. While we don’t plan to tackle the entirety of the issue in our episode either, we can certainly discuss one piece of it, which is gender inequality and the pay gap.
There is a great blog post on Salary.com that summarizes various pieces of the conversation, and that provides links to various sources of information such as the Department of Labor blog, reports from the World Economic Forum, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
According to most studies, which rely on data related to similarities in education and years in the workforce, most women are shown to make roughly $0.80-$0.85 per dollar compared to their male counterparts. Some show ranges of 28%-33% roughly.
What are some of the possible causes of this?
- Women less likely to negotiate a higher salary?
- Women taking more time off to tend to family obligations?
- Women entering lower-wage fields (like education)?
- Women getting behind in their careers with extended time out of the workforce?
While the overall statistics and general data comparisons in most of the studies available do support the existence of a significant pay gap between women and men, they do not account for specific metrics which are also used in the overall valuation of an employee’s contributions. This 256-page report by the US Congress Joint Economic Committee really dives into various measurables used in these studies, but also acknowledges that some of the differences are still unexplained.
While two persons may have the same level of education and/or hold the same job title, the salaries associated with their positions can vastly differ based on various criteria such as job performance and overall profitability related to the work they do, which may account for some of the unexplained differences in statistics from various studies.
- What has your professional experience been?
- Have you experienced this in your career, or have you seen it first hand?
In that same report by the US Congress Joint Economic Committee there is a list of suggested solutions for fixing the pay gap. It is no surprise that all of them involve legislation and regulation, but is that the answer? There is undoubtedly discrimination in many workplaces and companies, so what can we do to change the dynamic?
This gap was exacerbated by COVID and women make up a higher percentage of those 2021 exits from the employer workforce (link). They also make up a higher percentage of new businesses being created. So what does that tell us about women and the traditional work environment?
How are you talking to your kids about this topic to prepare them to enter the workforce one day? How are you teaching them to be part of the solution?