Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why Women Still Earn Less Than Men…

So women, speak up, you are worth every penny!

As the mother of two daughters, this is an issue that concerns me a great deal. Women are still earning less than men almost 50 years after the equal pay for equal work law was passed. There is still discrimination going on according to the 2010 Census reports. In fact, women are still only earning 77% of what men earn, with the average male salary just over $47,000 and women at just over $36,000.

Men out earn women in just about every occupation, even those that are predominantly filled by women. For example, female secretaries earn 83% of what a male secretary earns. In male dominated jobs, women earn less too! Female truck drivers earn 77% of what men doing the same work earn.

Interestingly enough, a study was done that showed that men who has sex change operations and became women, earned 32% less than men, while women who transitioned to men earned 1.5% more pay.

For adults between the ages of 25 and 29, woman hold 58% of the college and advanced degrees compared with 42% of men. Woman are becoming more and more educated and going into professionally male dominated careers such as medicine and law. However, they have yet to catch up to men in earning power.
Why the gender gap in salaries? Well, when men ask for a raise at work, their raises tend to be higher than women’s raises, 4.3% versus 2.7%. Over the course of many years, by the time they retire, it adds up to a lot of money. And this all starts with starting salaries. Over the course of a lifetime, a 25 year old woman will earn $523,000 less than her 25 year old male counterpart by the time they are both 65.

There are other issues that keep women from catching up to men. Woman compare their salaries with those of other women and not with the market value of their job. And even if we factor in that many women interrupt their careers to have children or work part time, childless career women still make less than men.

Women need to speak up, know the value of the work they are performing and negotiate better salaries for themselves. I can guarantee you that behind every successful man there are one or more women making him look good. All the administrative and executive “assistants” who don’t make a fraction of what they are worth, but keep companies running like clocks, handle problems, diffuse situations, pay attention to details…these are the underpaid, undervalued, underestimated, taken for granted women.

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