-Two Recent Contributions-

22 Apr

Across the realms of media lately there has been a significant amount of talk about the wage gap, why it still exists, and what should be done to end it. This is great! I’d like to take a moment and highlight two of the suggested changes that have caught my attention today.

First, in The New York Times’ online opinion pages, Heidi Hartmann, the president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, wrote an article to draw attention to the Paycheck Fairness Act. This Act is a proposed federal bill that “would apply to the vast majority of American workers and would penalize employers who retaliate against workers who share wage and salary information (Hartmann).” This Act will encourage discussion about wage in the workplace and, while eliminating the fear of job loss, will lead to more individuals taking a stance and demanding change. We need to get this Act passed, but unfortunately it is currently tied up in the House of Representatives. In the meantime, Hartmann is encouraging women to be vocal about wages within the workplace…

The second change that I came across today, on Quartz, was an article by Jane E. G. Lipson, a chemistry professor at Dartmouth College. Lipson suggests that testing be done to insure that gender bias and stereotyping is not taking place within a workplace. She bases her suggestions on an article from Yale NEWS that proves that gender bias exists among scientists during the hiring process.

During the study, male and female members of the science workplace being studied were given applications that were equal in qualities, references, and credentials but had either male or female names. Wage Gap Blog 4-22The study found that “both men and women science faculty were more likely to hire the male, ranked him higher in competency, and were willing to pay him $4000 more than the woman (Hathaway).” One of the researchers involved with the study, Corinne A. Moss-Racusin, explains that “there has been a feeling that women are underrepresented in the sciences because of personal or lifestyle choices, but it is clear that gender bias is also present (Hathaway).”

Lipson’s suggestion, then, is that various workplaces should adopt this study in order to identify if there is bias, stereotyping, and discrimination present. By taking the basic principles from the study and adjusting it to include the details of that specific profession, the CEO, board members, or whomever, can test the hiring department and then use the results for discussion with the hiring personnel. This would hopefully lead to awareness and change.

Both of these contributions to the fight for eliminating the wage gap, and gender discrimination, within the workplace are great ideas that should be made aware to the public. Discussions need to be taking place in order to inspire change. There can never be too much support for a cause such as this one!

Hartmann, Heidi. “Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.” 31 March 2013. The New York Times – The Opinion Pages. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/03/31/why-has-salary-parity-still-not-happened/pass-the-paycheck-fairness-act. 22 April 2013.

Hathaway, Bill. “Scientists not immune from gender bias, Yale study shows.” 24 September 2012. Yale NEWS. http://news.yale.edu/2012/09/24/scientists-not-immune-gender-bias-yale-study-shows. 22 April 2013.

Lipson, Jane E. G. “A simple test could fix the wage gap between men and women.” 9 April 2013. Quartz. http://qz.com/72058/a-simple-test-could-fix-the-wage-gap-for-men-and-women/. 22 April 2013.



Current Status of the Wage Gap

12 Apr

April 9, 2013 was Equal Pay Day according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. This day is meant to recognize how far women and minorities have come to obtaining equal pay with their male coworkers, and to encourage continuing the fight towards complete pay equality. There have definitely been great accomplishments over the last hundred or so years, however, the gap is still very real to many women.

The most current research shows that on average women are making roughly 81% of their male coworkers. Some positions, like that of the insurance sales agents, show that women only make 64.3% of the men with the same job (PR Newswire). Even in the most common occupations for women, such as nursing and cashiering, men make more than women. In the occupation of secretaries and administrative assistants, a field that is 95.3% women, the wage gap is still quite significant with women making just 82.8% of what the small number of men that hold the same position make (Hegewisch and Matite). Wage Gap post #3On a positive note, the women in social work positions currently experience the smallest wage gap. These women make 98.7% of their male coworkers (Hegewisch and Matite). So close to 100%!!

There are other factors that affect the pay gap as well. Ariane Hegewisch and Maxwell Matite explain in their article for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research that “the comparison of earnings in broad occupational groups by race and ethnicity show that Latina women are particularly likely to be in the lowest paid jobs.” Along with race, location affects pay as well. Gene Balk for the Seattle Times explains that Seattle is currently the worst place in the United States regarding pay inequality. “Following Seattle as the metro areas with the largest wage gaps are Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Detroit, respectively (Balk).” Los Angeles, California is currently the area with the smallest gap, according to Balk’s article.

Percentage-wise we are the closest yet to complete equality, however, it feels like we are currently at a standstill.  How do we take the last big step? What needs to be changed to finally reach that 100%? Let’s find an answer!

Works Cited

Balk, Gene. “Study: Seattle’s gender pay gap worst in the U.S.” The Seattle Times 8 April 2013. http://blogs.seattletimes.com/fyi-guy/2013/04/08/study-seattles-gender-pay-gap-worst-in-the-u-s/.

Hegewisch, Ariane and Maxwell Matite. “The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation.” April 2013. Institute for Women’s Policy Research. http://www.iwpr.org/publications/recent-publications. 12 April 2013.

NCPE. National Committe on Pay Equity. 9 April 2013. http://www.pay-equity.org/index.html. 12 April 2013.

Newswire, PR. “Wage Gap Persists in Most Occupations, Sales Jobs Worst Paying for Women.” 9 April 2013. PR Newswire. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wage-gap-persists-in-most-occupations-sales-jobs-worst-paying-for-women-202190661.html. 12 April 2013.

Wage Gap: Past to Present – Briefly

28 Mar

Although not a lot of data on the wage gap exists before the 1950s, it is estimated that during the mid to late 1800s women made only 30% – 50% of what their male coworkers earned (Goldin). By the 1950s – 1980s, when more women were entering the workforce, the wage gap had lessened slightly. Women in that era made approximately 60% of what the men in the same profession made (Goldin). The year 2008 showed women making 75% of their male coworkers, and in 2011 the wage gap became the smallest is has ever been at 82%. Due to the recession, job cuts, etc. 2012 showed the gap widening once again to 80.9% (Berman). In the article titled “Gender Gap” by Claudia Goldin, it states “…observable factors that affect pay – such as education, job experience, hours of work, and so on – explain no more than 50 percent of the wage gap.” So what explains the rest?

As seen above, the wage gap has existed since women began leaving the home and making a place for themselves in businesses, organizations, public positions, etc. Well known, successful women like Oprah Winfrey have shared their stories of discrimination in the workplace and have demanded equality for themselves and for women of the future. Unfortunately, we are still waiting for that 100% equality to be seen. On June 10, 1963 the Equal Pay Act was put in to place making it illegal for any employer to pay his/her employees  with regard to their gender. This was a significant step in the right direction for the movement towards equal pay, but it obviously did not eradicate the issue. Another contribution was made in 2009 by President Obama when he signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. This act allows victims of unfair pay to file complaints with the government, against the former employer, within 180 of the last paycheck. Lily Ledbetter was an employee of Goodyear who was able to prove that she was paid 15-40 percent less than her male coworkers (Brunner). She was one of many women who have stood up to their employers with the expectation of being paid the same as men.

Although the wage gap has improved over the years (with the exception of the 2012 decrease), it is now beginning to stall. Jillian Berman, for The Huffington Post, discusses a recent study done by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research on the wage gap in her article titled “Gender Wage Gap Widened in 2012, As Women Workers Were Held Back In Recovery.” According to that study, “women may be getting paid less for years to come. If the current rate of progress on closing the gender gap continues, it will take 45 more years – or until 2056 – for women earn as much as men.” What can we do about this?

More to come…

Works Cited

Berman, Jillian. “Gender Wage Gap Widened In 2012, As Women Workers Were Held Back In Recovery.” The Huffington Post 7 March 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/gender-wage-gap-2012_n_2830173.html#slide=more251931.

Brunner, Borgna. “The Equal Pay Act: A History of Pay Inequality in the U.S.” 2007. infoplease (Pearson Education). http://www.infoplease.com/spot/equalpayact1.html. 28 March 2013.

Goldin, Claudia. “Gender Gap.” 2008. Library of Economics and LIberty. http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/GenderGap.html. 28 March 2013.




15 Mar

This blog is my newest and, as you’ve probably guessed, it is about the wage gap between men and women in the United States. Although the gap is not nearly as big as it once was, it is still quite prevalent today. Wage Gap Blog #1According to an article by Sarah Jane Glynn and Audrey Powers titled “The Top 10 Facts About The Wage Gap,” women from all ethnic backgrounds make less than men in all professions. In USA Today, it was reported that “the apples-to-apples comparison found that women still earned about 7% less than their male counterparts (Dugas).” But for what reasons?

For the next seven weeks, as part of the Communication Through New Media course project, I will be looking at the details regarding the wage gap. The achievements that have been made to get us where we are will be discussed briefly, then the discussion will shift to the current state of the wage gap in our country. By the end of these seven weeks we will have shifted focus to what we have left to do on the path towards equal pay regardless of gender or race.

Comments are encouraged and appreciated. Thanks.

Dugas, Christine. “Gender pay gap persists.” 24 October 2012. USA Today – Money. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2012/10/24/gender-pay-gap/1652511/. 223 February 2013.

Glynn, Sarah Jane and Audrey Powers. “The Top 10 Facts About The Wage Gap.” 16 April 2012. Center for American Progress. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/labor/news/2012/04/16/11391/the-top-10-facts-about-the-wage-gap/. 23 February 2013.