The pay gap is still very real and its impact on women is getting worse – WWD

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Although the Equal Pay Act has become federal law, progress has been slow. In fact, given the current rate of progress, new research from DebtHammer shows that it will take more than 257 years to achieve pay equity.

When asked, only 30% of women said their employers paid them fairly. Which makes sense since, on average, American women earn 73 cents for every dollar earned by a white man and there continue to be signs of a pay gap in 98% of jobs. This means that women who are employed full-time in the United States lose nearly $930 billion in total per year due to the wage gap.

Notably, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families’ May 2022 fact sheet, the pay gap is often even wider for women of color. The organization’s findings show that while white women earn 73 cents for every dollar earned by a white man, Latina women are only paid 49 cents, black women earn 58 cents, Native American women earn 50 cents, and Asians American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) women are paid 75 cents.

“It drives me crazy that the economic gap persists in this third decade of the 21st century,” said Beth Bengtson, founder and chief executive of Working for Women, an organization that works at the intersection of business and social change with a vision is for all women to achieve economic independence.

That includes salaries as well as the pink tax, Bengtson said. “Given that we haven’t closed this gap in the past 20+ years, despite so much public attention and the growth in the number of women in the workforce, it’s clear that something isn’t working. . It seems to me that it is time to change the conversation. Society doesn’t benefit if we don’t fix this problem – it’s everyone’s problem, not just a women’s problem. When a woman’s individual financial security improves, research shows it creates a ripple effect that ripples through businesses, industries, communities and entire economies.

According to a Credit Karma study conducted in March for Equal Pay Day, two out of three women say their current salary is preventing them from achieving their financial goals, including paying off debt and saving for retirement. And yet, the company’s data also showed that 31% of women don’t feel comfortable asking for a raise. Of the 46% of women who requested a augmentation, only 26% were approved for the augmentation.

When Credit Karma asked consumers in its survey about their experiences finding out that a colleague made more money than them, 25% of women said they thought gender played a role, while only 12% of men said gender was a contributing factor. McCreary told WWD that the results indicate that women still feel underpaid compared to their male counterparts simply because of their gender.

“In some cases, it is even difficult for women to afford basic necessities, which was the case for 35% of women who say their salary is holding them back financially,” said Colleen McCreary , director of human resources and financial lawyer at Credit Karma.

To understand the total cost of being a woman, it is important to consider what is known as the pink tax. The pink tax is the premium or gender-based pricing that is applied to products designed for women, including some razors, soaps and shampoos. The New York City Consumer Affairs Department shows an overall price difference of 13%, with the top category being shampoos and conditioners (hair care), with a difference of 48%. Razor cartridges, razors, and lotions show an 11% price difference, followed by deodorant, body wash, and shaving cream, which show a 3-6% price difference.

Why does the pay gap persist today? Although education levels may have been the answer before, DebtHammer statistics show that men haven’t had higher levels of education for at least two decades. Instead, the company finds that the main reasons for the current pay gap are:

  • Workplace discrimination and salary secrecy policies
  • Overrepresentation in low-paying jobs and devalued work
  • Discrimination of caregivers and penalties related to maternity

According to DebtHammer, a significant factor that contributes to the pay gap is that women more often work in sectors such as education, healthcare and the service sector. In comparison, male-dominated industries, such as science, technology and finance, generally pay more. Yet company data shows that when women enter a specific male-dominated industry, the average salary for those positions drops.

At the same time, McCreary said: “The pay gap is a systemic problem, which makes it difficult to solve. The gap is built on both conscious and unconscious biases, which most often arise in the interview and hiring process as well as in companies with manager-level performance review processes determining salary and promotions. This is why it is important for companies to implement structured interviews or more specific instructions/reviews to help limit the risk of unconscious bias when making salary decisions.

DebtHammer points out that although women at all levels of the corporate ladder earn less than men, the higher women move up the ladder, the wider the pay gap becomes.

Due to the pay gap, nearly 32% of women said they looked for other job opportunities once they learned there was a pay gap at their current workplace. The data reveals that 58% of female employees would leave their current position for a job with more pay transparency.

“Because of its systemic nature, it’s important that companies do the work to close the wage gap within their own organizations,” McCreary said. “Then, once they’ve established a philosophy around pay equity, it’s important to set goals for how they plan to achieve pay equity in the short and long term. It is crucial. Without clear goals, there is no accountability, and when it comes to closing the pay gap, accountability is key.

Only 30% of women said their employers paid them fairly.

Drobot Dean – stock.adobe.com

Data from Credit Karma revealed that this is important for both hiring and retaining employees, with 71% of Americans saying it is important for an employer to prioritize pay equity, including 75% women and 66% men.

Unfortunately, this wage gap is not an American problem. At the World Economic Forum, held on July 13, members of the Geneva-based think tank also predicted that the current cost-of-living crisis would hit women hardest, highlighting the growing gender gap gender in the global workforce. The forum estimates that it will take 132 years for the world to achieve gender parity, citing wages and economic opportunity, education, health and political empowerment as the four main drivers.

“Faced with a weak recovery, the government and companies must deploy two sets of efforts: targeted policies to support the return of women to the labor market and the development of female talents in the industries of the future,” Saadia said. Zahidi, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum. . “Otherwise, we risk permanently eroding the gains of past decades and losing future economic returns to diversity.”

To tackle the pay gap, DebtHammer notes that “key first steps are to increase pay transparency across the country, end occupational segregation based on gender roles, give women better access to paid holidays and childcare and to encourage unionized jobs.

For its part in the internal change, Credit Karma implemented role-based compensation, which normalizes compensation to avoid compensation issues over time.

“Bridging the pay gap is an issue that I am hugely passionate about and one that we have invested heavily in as a company,” McCreary said. “[Role-based compensation] helps standardize job architectures and promotion calibrations and removes merit raises and bonuses, which have a high potential for bias. Since the establishment of this structure, we have seen much higher retention rates. While not all companies have the resources to implement pay equity, to move forward we need to move away from traditional compensation models based on meritocracy and outdated industry standards and adopt new, fairer standards.

“COVID-19 has brought those conversations about women’s equality back into the spotlight, but those issues have been there forever,” Bengtson said. “If only women talk about it, change will remain elusive. Since our leaders are still predominantly men, we need more men to stand up and support women. More than 100 years ago, men stood with women and signed the Declaration of Sentiments for women to get the right to vote; they must start again until we are treated equally in all areas.

In terms of investing in women, Bengtson points out that while evidence shows that investing in women benefits all of humanity, capital does not flow there. Only 1.9% of philanthropy goes to women and girls, according to the IUPUI Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Working for Women works to connect businesses with nonprofits to empower more women to achieve economic independence. Imagine, she said, if women-owned businesses, which account for $1.9 trillion in revenue, each donated just 1% — how many lives could be improved?

An outspoken champion of equal pay, Venus Williams used her platform to launch her Privilege Tax initiative. This initiative will give shoppers the option to donate $1 at checkout when shopping at participating retailers or brands. Participating companies include Williams’ brand EleVen, as well as Tom Brady’s TB 12, Tracy Anderson, Ellevest and Credo, among others.

“If you like them, pay them,” says the EleVen Privilege Tax page. Proceeds from the Privilege Tax initiative go to support Girls Inc., which aims to inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold.

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