The gap between women’s earning and men’s earnings is worse than commonly believed. Women earned 49 percent of what men earned on average, according to a recent study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research
Past studies state that women earn an average of 80 cents on the dollar when compared to men’s overall earnings. This may actually be a significant overestimation, according to the 15-year-long study.
What Contributes to This Gap?
The discussion around the inequality of women’s earnings is centralized on the fact that women typically take on more family responsibilities than men. Women are often penalized more harshly than men for taking time off work to raise children or care for family.
Other contributions to this gap in earnings include:
- Lack of long-term paid family or medical leave
- Lack of affordable child care
- Lack of paternity leave or encouragement for men to take it
- Lack of higher-earning opportunities (i.e. promotions) for women
- Lack of enforcement of Title IX or gender diversity policies
Enforcement of Title IX policies in the workplace protects and encourages women's participation in fields that are typically dominated by men. This encourages women and girls to pursue higher-paying jobs at higher skill levels.
Is There a Disconnect in Women's Education?
Encouraging women to pursue a broader range of occupations, particularly in sciences and technology where women are otherwise underrepresented, could have a significant impact on the economy. According to Bloomberg.com, women are outpacing men in obtaining advanced degrees, including doctoral degrees.
If this trend holds, and women are earning the degrees but not occupying the positions, then the nation must address the disconnect in the workplace and what keeps women from the higher paying jobs within it. If the disconnect is cultural, then only a cultural shift can close this gap.
Until this shift occurs, many women are not being paid what they are worth. If you believe you are a victim of gender discrimination at work, learn about your legal options.