Our class from Thursday evening has inspired my blog post for this week. Honestly, it’s so hard to believe that it is 2021 and there are inequities based on sex. One inequity that has been fought over for years is the pay gap that exists between men and women. After reading a little more about the pay gap, I learned of Equal Pay Day, which was created in 1996. Each year, Equal Pay Day is different because the date is based on “how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year” (US Census Bureau, 2021). This year, Equal Pay Day occurred on March 24th… 83 days into the calendar year.
From PayScale’s executive summary, “the difference between the earnings of women and men has shrunk, but only by an incremental amount each year. There remains a disparity in how men and women are paid, even when all compensable factors are controlled, meaning that women are still being paid less than men due to no attributable reason other than gender…the gender pay gap is wider for women of color, women at higher job levels, and women in certain occupations and industries” (Payscale, 2021).
I believe there are a few ways myself and society can achieve success with reducing the pay gap and hopefully ridding of it altogether.
- Pay transparency. How does someone know there could be a pay discrepancy if salaries can’t be discussed among colleagues. Some women may not even know they are paid less than men in some professions since they assume salaries are controlled and equal.
- Improving FMLA. Whether it’s due to pregnancy or having to be the family caretaker, women are more likely to have to leave the workforce to provide family care.
- Salary history and negotiating. Many new applicants are asked what their last salary was to get an idea of what should be offered. This can negatively affect women, who are already less likely to make more than their male counterparts. Additionally, women are less likely than men to negotiate salaries and ask for more money. Whether it’s women mentoring women and letting them know it’s okay to negotiate… you should negotiate, this needs to become a common or at least known practice for women.
- Reflection and action. If one is high enough in their organization (especially myself and my cohort which hope to keep climbing on their leadership journey), they need to consider taking a look at the salaries in the organization to determine if there are any discrepancies. If there are, changes need to happen.
Payscale (2021). The state of the gender pay gap in 2021. https://www.payscale.com/data/gender-pay-gap
US Census Bureau (2021, March 24). Equal pay day: March 24, 2021. www.census.gov/newsroom/stories/equal-pay-day.html.