Make Equal Pay Day Real: How You Can Close The Gender Pay Gap
It’s both good and bad news.
Women still have a ways to go before they reach equal pay for equal work, but this year shows a small improvement of 1 percent over last year.
Equal Pay Day on April 2 marks the date that women finally catch up to earnings that men made for the year ending in 2018. It is symbolic because it demonstrates how far behind and “in the red” women are in their paychecks. Women of color have to wait even longer in the year to catch up to what men earn.
The bottom line is in 2019 all women earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn. This is the “raw gender pay gap,” or the median salary for all men and women regardless of job type or worker seniority, according to a new study by PayScale of nearly 1.8 million people, the State of the Gender Pay Gap in 2019.
The disturbing news is pay disparities continue to exist because of gender, race, age, geography and education level. The largest uncontrolled pay gap is for American Indian and Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic women who earn 74 cents for every dollar a White man earns in the uncontrolled or raw gender gap.
In the controlled group– measuring median salary for men and women in the same job with the same qualifications– black women make 97 cents for every dollar a White man with the same qualifications makes. And Asian women earn $1.02, compared to white men.
The controlled pay gap shows a woman earns 98 cents for every dollar earned by an equivalent male peer. Yet, this still does not paint the whole picture, according to PayScale.
“By mid career (age range 30-44), 47 percent of men are managers or higher, while only 40 percent of women reach this level. By late career (age 45+), 57 percent of men are managers or higher, while only 41 percent of women reach this level,” the study shows.
“Few women ever make their way to C-suite. By late career (age 45+), eight percent of men have risen to an executive level position, compared to three percent of women,” according to PayScale.
“The ongoing conversation about gender pay is really a call to action for employers to provide equal access to the best-paying positions in their organizations,” says PayScale Vice President Lydia Frank, who is a guest April 10 at Take The Lead’s free, live Virtual Happy Hour, “You’re Worth It! Be Money Wise And Get Paid What You Deserve.” (Register here.)
“The Paycheck Fairness Act, a measure intended to strengthen equal pay protections for women. The proposed bill, which Democrats have tried to pass for 20 years, would add protections to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Fair Labor Standards Act in an attempt to close the gender wage gap,” according to CNBC.
“It would ban salary secrecy, increase penalties for employers who retaliate against workers who share wage information and allow workers to sue for damages of pay discrimination. The bill would also provide more training for employers on collecting pay gap information and eliminating pay disparities.”
It may or may not be signed into law this year on Equal Pay Day, but was passed by the House of Representatives.
Gloria Feldt, co-founder and president of take The Lead says the disparities can disappear if women take action.
“We women could close the pay gap along with the leadership gap if we asked for our full value. If you need help planning your next negotiation, you can use the Close the Gap App. In honor of Equal Pay Day, we’re offering this unique tool, usually $10, to you for free if you use the code free2day when you sign up,” Feldt writes.
“Our research shows the gender pay gap is multifaceted with many different factors contributing to pay inequity. As a result, every woman experiences the gender pay gap differently depending on her unique identities. Working toward a deeper understanding of these elements and developing a process for mitigating any biases that exist are the best ways for employers to establish equitable earning potential at their organization. That means being proactive, looking at data regularly and being holistic in your approach,” according to PayScale.
Even more striking is that all women with advanced degrees are under-utilized and under-compensated for their education, PayScale reports. “Women with MBAs face the largest uncontrolled pay gaps; these women take home just 74 cents for every dollar men with MBAs do. This suggests that women and men with MBAs have very different job titles and job levels or work in different industries.”
Older women are penalized for gender and age, a double whammy. Older women of color have a triple threat to their income growth. Women ages 45 and older have the most inequity in the work force. PayScale reports that women don’t experience the same promotion rates into those higher paying, senior management or executive jobs as men do.
Geography and where you work and live matter. Alabama and Louisiana continue to have the largest uncontrolled gender pay gaps in the U.S. with women making roughly 27 percent and 25 percent less than men in those states. Vermont is America’s most equitable state with women earning 13 percent less than men, PayScale reports. But that still isn’t equal or fair.
With women holding only 29 percent of all jobs in the tech sector, the technology industry has the smallest controlled pay gap of any industry. But that may be because men and women do not hold the same jobs, with more men holding those higher-paying jobs.
The study also shows that women do not feel fairly compensated, while men do. Two percent of white women and 55 percent of Black women said they do not feel they are fairly paid, compared to 44 percent of white men.
Is this bias, is this historic, and how do we change it? Why is there a persistent gap at all? Is it possible to rectify?
Take The Lead takes the stand that yes, we can close the gender pay gap and reach equity in leadership across all sectors, by 2025.
In a new poll released by The American Association of University Women, “The majority of Americans—almost 60 percent—think the gender pay gap is due to biases in the workplace. Women are more likely than men to blame bias: 65 percent of women say bias accounts for the pay gap, compared to 53 percent of men. Only 23 percent of Americans say the gap is the result of choices women make,” according to the AAUW.
In the AAUW’s analysis in The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap report, “The gap is even larger for most women of color, where Latinas are paid 53 cents and Black women are paid 61 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. (Download pay equity fast facts and list of state pay gap rankings.)”
Salary transparency is one path to overcoming bias and achieving pay equity, the AAUW suggests.
According to Quartz, “In 2017, UBS, a wealth management firm and investment bank, wrote a report that tracked two hypothetical people, Jane and Joe, to see how their choices and other factors impacted their longterm financial health. UBS identified five factors that go into creating a situation in which women and men can end up with hugely different amounts of wealth in the latter part of life. The factors are: the existing pay gap, taking a short career break, flexible or part-time working, risk aversion, and life expectancy. Over the course of their lives, women and men can end up either well-cushioned for retirement or dependent on others, based on choices relating to these factors. ‘Jane,’ in the UBS model, ends up with less money than she started out. ‘Joe’ ends up with millions of dollars more.’
Quartz reports, “Globally, women were paid 22 percent less than men in 2017, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Companies and governments increasingly want to close that gap, but the “extremely slow progress” towards equality means that, based on current trends, it will still take 202 years to achieve parity in economic participation and opportunity—a World Economic Forum estimate that increased last year because the world’s efforts bore so little fruit.”
“Some steps, including legislation, have been taken to ensure businesses are paying women fairly and, in many cases, workers themselves are demanding change from their employers. In today’s tight labor market, employers cannot ignore potential wage and opportunity gaps at their organizations and expect to attract and retain the best talent. Most people want to do the right thing, but actively addressing pay equity issues is as much a business imperative as it is a moral one,” Frank adds.
Honor your worth this month and all year long and join Take The Lead for Virtual Happy Hour April 10, 6:30 ET, for “You’re Worth It! Be Money Wise and Get Paid What You Deserve.” Register here.
Guests Frank of PayScale; Manisha Thakor, Founder of MoneyZen Wealth Management, Vice President of Financial Education at Brighton Jones and author of On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance and Get Financially Naked; and Jennefer Witter, CEO/Founder of The Boreland Group, author of 101 PR Tips for Entrepreneurs and communications chair for the Women in Security Group of ASIS International, will each share their wisdom and help you find solutions.
You can learn:
How to find the salary and rates for your position in your area
How to be financially literate at every step of your career
Steps to deepen your financial wisdom
How to negotiate and ask for the competitive salary you deserve
How to improve your relationship with money
How to create an environment of transparency in your workplace
How to communicate your value
Register even if you can’t attend live—we’ll send the link afterward so you don’t miss the valuable tips. You will receive a copy of PayScale’s new gender pay gap report. Register here.