IG intro: The Gender Wage Gap By Numbers Vera Marie Reed

Russian President Vladimir Putin may very well have played a role in preventing Hillary Clinton from smashing through the glass ceiling to become President of the United States of America.

But what about that other glass ceiling — the one where women are paid less than men for doing the same type of work? That’s on us, the American people, not on any Russian state-backed cyber attacks that, according to the FBI, the CIA, and even U.S. President Barack Obama, may very well have cost Clinton the chance to shatter the ultimate glass ceiling.

According to statistics, women earn $0.79 for every $1 that men earn. One source has even calculated that it will take 44 years — up until 2059 — before women finally achieve pay parity.

As well, women earn less than their male counterparts in low-wage jobs, and they’re penalized for working fewer than 40 hours a week. Also consider that low-wage workers do 40 hours per week but that 32% of women and 10.5% of men work fewer than 40 hours per week.

It’s also interesting to note that 50% of the wage gap is essentially occupational segregation where men and women take on jobs that are traditionally pursued by their respective genders. For instance, many women gravitate towards jobs typically done by women — such as nurses, secretaries, and children’s teachers. And many men work in jobs that are typically pursued by men — such as CEOs, computer engineers, and airline pilots.

When women do seek out jobs that are traditionally deemed by society to be male jobs, they sometimes head for the exit soon thereafter because of the macho attitudes that exist. For instance, 40% of women who left a STEM — science, technology, engineering, or math — career do so primarily because of the macho culture that made women feel as though they don’t belong.

When it comes to requesting a raise, men (47%) and women (51%) pretty much agree that discussion of wage and salary is discouraged, prohibited, and could lead to punishment. But while the percentage of men and women who believe this is similar, the sexes vastly differ in their approach as per requesting more money upon getting a job offer. In fact, 51.5% of men ask for more money while a paltry 12.5% of women ask for more money.

What it all boils down to is that women are penalized for negotiating, but men are rewarded for the same behavior. And what makes this particularly costly — for women, that is — is that women who do not bargain can lose between $750,000 and $2 million over the course of their careers.

The best way to eliminate the gender wage gap is to appeal to politicians so that wide-spread change can take place. For instance, one article notes that Massachusetts now stipulates that employers who make job offers to prospective hires can’t ask them what they made at their prior job, a provision that is intended to break the cycle of unfairly low salaries for women and minority groups. The report added that New York City is mulling over a similar bill. As more and more governments across the country take note and follow suit, more change is bound to materialize.


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