Although women have been making strides in the professional workplace, they are still not treated equally with men in a majority of professions. The best way to judge this fact is through the wage gap, which has remained stable for years.
In the United States, a woman makes just 77.5 cents for every dollar that a man makes.
Gender Inequality in the Workplace
Some states are seeing this trend becoming worse instead of better. In Wyoming, for example, a woman is only able to earn about 64 cents for every man’s dollar. On the other hand, the best states in the US still only pay a woman 85 cents on a man’s dollar, as evidenced by Vermont and Nevada, who lead the way. Until real change is made a priority in the professional environment, women are going to continue to stay behind the curve.
- Women in professional specialty occupations were found to earn just 72.7% of what men in the same position earned.
- Women business owners employ 35% more people than all the Fortune 500 companies combined.
- The total number of businesses in the US that are owned by women: 40%.
- Women account for 46% of the labor force, but 59% of women are making less than $8 an hour.
- 16% of U.S. households have women who are divorced, widowed, or never married as the sole providers.
- Only 1 out of every 2 American employers will offer a benefit that includes some sort of replacement pay for women who are out on a maternity leave.
- 40% of worldwide businesses have zero women in senior management roles.
There are some women who have done great things and worked hard to blaze a trail for others to follow, but the fact remains that there is a glass ceiling in place for the modern woman. This is especially true when women pursue advanced levels of education. As women get closed to achieving a doctorate, they end up losing even more money on a man’s dollar. Sure – a woman with a graduate degree can support herself and her family with an $80k per year salary… but what about the man who, in the same job with the same qualifications and experience, is earning $120k?
Why Do Changes Need To Be Made?
- In 99% of all occupations men still make more than women.
- When a lifetime of work is considered, women with a professional degree, while working the same job as a man with the same title and responsibility, will make $2 million less than than a man.
- African-American women earn 64 cents to every dollar earned by white men.
- Hispanic women earn even less, making only 52 cents on the dollar.
- 93% of women in the United States who are in a senior executive role believe that a glass ceiling is still in place, even if others say that it is not.
- Despite these numbers, earnings for women with degrees have risen 33%, compared to the 22% of their male counterparts.
Are steps toward equality being made? Absolutely. We must not just settle for taking a step or two and being satisfied if we want to achieve true equality. Just because wages are raising more quickly for women than men doesn’t mean that the battle has been won or that the journey is over. It simply means that society has gone up a step or two on the staircase of equality and fair wages are at the very top. Women aren’t making progress in all categories either. In 1998, women in the 20-24 age bracket earned 89.4% of men. Today they make less, at 89.0%. We can look at the 2016 election and see the accomplishments of Hillary Clinton as a method of dismissing gender inequality in the workplace, but dismissing it won’t change the fact that it exists.
How Far Do We Have To Go To Right This Wrong?
- Only 4.2% of chief executive officers at Fortune 500 companies are women.
- According to some studies, women are actually 9% more productive over the course of a day than men are.
- The conclusion of a human development report from the United Nations concluded that no society on the planet today treats its women as well as its men.
- Some laws restrict more than just money. In Saudi Arabia, for example, women aren’t even allowed to drive a car or ride a bike on a public road – or leave their home without a man’s permission.
- 33% of women will experience so form of violence during their lives, including abuse, sexual coercion, or physical beatings.
- In some countries, babies who are girls are simply killed because it is more important for the family to have a male child. In India, there are 927 live births of girls for every 1,000 male births.
- In some countries, women have no legal claim to any property ownership.
When the biggest fight that women tend to have in the United States and other industrialized nations is a fair wage, their work pales in comparison to women who can’t go anywhere or have any legal rights to claim property. That doesn’t change the fact, however, that inequality is still a form of oppression. There are certainly places in the world where women face greater forms of oppression than a wage gap that may cost a woman $2 million over her lifetime, but this doesn’t trivialize the matter. If we are going to call ourselves an equal society and describe ourselves as pro-life, we must fight for every life – not just the convenient ones.
Could Career Choices Be Affecting Pay Rates?
- The percentage of women that choose to work in the public sector over the course of their career: 50%.
- 37.1% of women hold at least a bachelor’s degree compared to 34.9% for men.
- One in five women are working part time because they cannot find full time work.
- Men lost more jobs than women in the Great Recession, but also experienced a steadier recovery.
- In 2010, there were approximately 65 million women in the labor force.
- 53% of women work in 3 industries: health care, trades and utilities, and local government.
- 79% of the health and social services workforce are women.
- According to the GAO, women make up 59% of the low-wage workforce.
- More than half of all women are considered to be employed below their full potential. In the UK, that accounts for 2.8 million women.
- Women account for up to 70% of the total minimum wage jobs in some countries.
It’s not that women can’t work or aren’t productive. It’s not that women are smart. It’s not even that women aren’t fully capable of equal work. It’s a perspective issue. Women are seen as caring, nurturing souls that don’t have that killer instinct that is “required” in the business world. Because of this, an employer believes that they can charge a premium through salary reduction to compensate of this “lack” of skill. The only problem is that women tend to manage better, be more productive, and employ more people when they are in charge. The real question that needs to be asked is this: how much more effective would the business world be if women really were given a fair chance to truly succeed?
What Happens When True Equality Does Happen?
- Companies with 25% or more women in leadership positions as Corporate Officers averaged 13x more philanthropic donations than those with no women in leadership.
- In 2007, companies with 3 or more women on their Board of Directors averaged 28x more money in philanthropic donations.
- Only 24% of CEOs are women and they face the same wage gap as women in any other position throughout the workforce, yet they pull in more profitability than male run organizations.
- For every year that a woman takes off from work to care for a child, her future wages reduce by 5%, despite her ability to raise profitability.
What do the statistics prove? In many ways, women are actually superior to men when it comes to business. Maybe this is the reason why oppression has been occurring for so long. In order for men to actually compete with a woman, they must make them feel like the inferior gender. When women are given true equality, everyone benefits. Philanthropic giving goes up. Profitability goes up. Here’s the surprising part: it only takes 1 out of 4 managers and just 3 women on the Board of Directors to make this happen. The facts show this: if you want the best chance for a business to find success, then hire a woman and pay her fairly. When you do, you’ll break that glass ceiling and find an amazing amount of success.