Equal pay for women – I have been saying that for most of my working life – but I was sure we were going to be stuck at the 76% of men’s pay forever. This week the Pew Research Center released a study that surprised me. The title of the study’s article was On Pay Gap, Millennial Women Near Parity – For Now.
A 2012 Pew study showed that Millennial women actually earn 92% of what Millennial men earn. It’s a start. The increase in women’s pay is being attributed to the fact that more women are graduating from college and obtaining advance degrees at a higher rate than men. When all male and female participants were analyzed (men and women 16 years of age and older) the women earned 84% of the average hourly rate of men. It’s a little better than previous years, but we need to do better.. The other thing the study brought out was that the gap is closing not only because women are earning more, but men are earning less. Overall, male participant’s pay has dropped 4% when adjusted for inflation since 1980, while young male’s pay has dropped 20%.
The “for now” part of the study
The study also shows that the pay gap widens again when women reach their mid 30s and start to to raise families. The causes of this are cited as:
- Taking time off or working part-time while raising children
- Gender stereotyping
- Gender discrimination
- Weaker professional networks
- Women’s reluctance to aggressively ask for promotions or pay increases
Even with a smaller pay gap, women still believe gender inequity is prevalent
The outcomes from the pay gap study were paired with an October 2013 Pew study that shows that even though millennial women and men are closing the gap in pay, there are still significant differences in how the gender gap is viewed. In the end, women still see the workplace as dominated by male influence. 75% of Mellenial women believe that more changes need to be made if women are to find equality in the workplace, but only 57% of men believe that more change is needed. No big surprise to Ask Ajna is the 40% difference between men and women about the impact of parenting on advancing in one’s career. 60% of women believe this to only 19% of men. While men who take time away from work to do things with or for the family are looked at as noble, women who do the same thing are regarded as doing what is expected of them. There is also the belief that we can’t have it all so the career must suffer. That’s a huge difference in perception. And a statistic that is disappointing with this generation that is being encouraged to “lean in” – 34% of women said they would not be interested in being in management or taking on a leadership role, while only 24% of men said they would not be interested.
This study come at a time when women are starting to be recognized as leaders. This week General Moters picked Mary Barra as the first female CEO of a major car company. Janet Yellen is up for confirmation in the US Senate for the Federal Reserve Chairman, and if confirmed will be the first woman appointed to that role. Things are changing, but only 4.5% of Fortune 1000 CEO positions are held by women.
Equal pay for women has been an ongoing theme for us here at Ask Ajna. As HR professionals, we’ve seen pay and gender inequality up close a personal. If you would like to see more about this issue check out the following:
- Ending Pay Inequity – At Least in Boston
- Why Women in Leadership? The Bottom Line
- Equal Pay Act – We’ve come a long way baby … or have we?
What is one thing you will do to further pay equity in the coming year?
- Ask for a raise?
- Ask for a promotion or a new job?
- Support legislation to further equal pay in the US?
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