Gender Wage Gap: Fact or Fiction?

By March 12, 2015Sylvia's Blog

I’ve always considered myself a feminist.  I’ve never thought that was a derogatory word.  I know some people do. To me, it just means equality for men and women. Yet, here it is 2015 and it’s an issue we as a society still struggle with. Webster’s dictionary defines it as the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.  So why does the issue of the gender pay gap keep rearing it’s ugly head. I’m the mother of two daughters and I don’t want this to remain an issue when my girls venture out into the workforce. But I’m sure it will. And why are women criticized when we bring it up?

arquette-oscarsMost recently actress Patricia Arquette received backlash for her Oscar speech in which she declared “the older women get, the less money they make.” She said “It is time for us. Equal means equal”.   A lot of people  were put off  by her speech saying a Hollywood actress  who makes millions of dollars should not be complaining.  But the reality is the gender pay gap does affect women of all races and socioeconomic status.

 

pay_gap_lifetime

A group called the Center for American progress determined the inequality in earnings between men and women can end up costing her over a  lifetime. And it’s not just a women’s issue, it’s a family issue.  It found in 2010 the median full time working woman took home $10,784 less than a working man. For a lifetime of work,  that  translates to two houses, 14 cars or 37 years of family meals.

 

 

 

Just this week the Clinton and Gates Foundations presented a report that shows how far women have come and all the ways we are not there yet.  One aspect was the gender pay gap and not just here in the US but around the world.

clintons wage gap

 

gender pay gap graphic2The gathering held in New York was called the “No ceilings Full Participation” event. It found women make less than men in every country and that not much is being done around the world on a governmental level to fix the problem.

Yet some people think this gender wage gap is a myth and doesn’t really exist.  Some credit the difference to men going after higher paying jobs  and that women often have to interrupt their careers to care for family members which impacts their earnings. I’ve always thought it was a good idea to share how much everyone is making at a company.  I know that sounds crazy.  But why not? Why should we hide our salaries? If we already know what our co-worker is making then maybe that will affect how employers dole out salaries to both men and women.

I decided to take an informal poll of female executives in the TV news business since that’s what I know.  They all had one belief in common.  When it comes to a gender wage gap things are getting better though it is still NOT equal.  These women were in positions of power and knew how much people in their departments were getting paid.  In some cases they discovered the male executives who they replaced were actually making more than they were offered when they were hired to fix the mess that was left behind.

These women agree the best way to fix this problem and to close the gap is to start hiring more female executives who will hopefully make the necessary changes.  Search the internet and  statistics are all over the place.  Female managers over age 40 make 35% less than men. Women make 77% on average of what similar men make. In virtually every job category tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average woman earns less than the average man.

Here’s the bottom line:  Yes, the gap is getting tighter but it still exists. We as women, minorities, rich or poor should be fighting to make sure that gap is finally closed. Close is not good enough. Let’s take a stand for our daughters, sons and our families.  Don’t be afraid to keep speaking up for equal pay until it really is equal.

If you have a current example of the gender pay gap, please share it with me.

 

Sylvia Perez

About Sylvia Perez

Sylvia Perez is an Emmy Award winning broadcast journalist, news and health reporter, and major market anchor. Her expertise in revealing the personal side of headline stories and drawing their impact into “news you can use” viewership is now the foundation of Sylvia Perez Productions, a multi-faceted company specializing in video production and event planning for non-profits.

2 Comments

  • Jeff says:

    Here is another stat I recently read regarding the gap…Women who never marry on average make 4% less than men. I used to work in HR systems and was privy to wage data for large companies and although far from a universal sampling, I did not see a difference in pay for those companies especially when I knew some of the resumes of those people in like positions.

    I think the gap has a lot more to do with what you touched upon with respect to areas of business that men and women go into. Again, looking a little too close at the data but go into a school and compare the number of male to female teachers….Now go into an engineering firm or think about engineers you know and how many are male vs female. Now compare engineering salaries to teacher salaries. That does not mean there are “male” careers and “female” careers.

    Additionally, women tend to unfairly get the brunt of managing the home. So they may tend to work less hours in general than men who may not have those duties to get kids dinner etc.. Of course lots of women work long hours and men have to get home right away to take care of house chores. However, use your own experience and look at different friends and compare hours worked.

    • Sylvia Perez Sylvia Perez says:

      I actually have looked at my own experience which caused me to write this. Thank you for your input. Love to have good and fair conversations about issues some people get so worked up about.

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