The Gender Wage Gap
Why It Exists and How Women Can Help Close It
— reported by Monster.com
There’s no doubt about it: The gender pay gap has shrunk gradually in recent decades, but women in the US workforce still earn substantially less than their male colleagues. That’s the consensus of advocates for women workers and the common conclusion of government reports on wages and salaries.
Still, some observers contend, women’s generally lower total earnings are a direct result of their work/life choices, not a consequence of employers who discriminate by gender in determining pay or granting promotions.
Government statistics present a fairly consistent picture. Women’s median annual earnings have made steady progress through most of the last quarter-century, rising from 59.2 percent of a man’s paycheck in 1981 to 76.5 percent in 2004, according to figures from the US Census Bureau.
But while the ratio of women’s-to-men’s annual pay has plateaued since 2001, when it stood at 76.3 percent, women’s median weekly earnings, which include seasonal workers, rose from 76.4 percent of men’s pay in 2001 to an all-time high of 80.4 percent in 2004. So says “Women in the Labor Force,” a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Men Are Three Times More Likely to Earn Six Figures
Alternative View: Work/Life Choices, Not Gender, Determine Pay
How Can Women Close the Gap?
Those on both sides of the issue agree: To address pay disparity, women must take matters into their own hands. “This means getting salary figures and talking to people who make decisions about wages,” Leber says.