Ex­am­in­ing wage gap on Equal Pay Day

USA TODAY US Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Dalvin Brown

Pay dis­par­ity is tight­en­ing, but women still face more work­place hard­ships

Equal Pay Day is the prime time to rec­og­nize the in­come dis­crep­an­cies be­tween men and women in the work­force. ❚ At face value, wage con­di­tions seem to be get­ting bet­ter over time. ❚ Com­pa­nies have be­gun adopt­ing salary trans­parency poli­cies. There are laws in sev­eral states that are ban­ning em­ploy­ers from ask­ing po­ten­tial hires about past earn­ings. And some states re­quire that em­ploy­ers col­lect wage gap data in an ef­fort to even the play­ing field. ❚ Still, women con­tinue to face work­place hard­ships such as fewer pro­mo­tions, less sup­port and im­plicit bias. They ex­pe­ri­ence preg­nancy dis­crim­i­na­tion, ex­clu­sion from the so-called “boy’s club“and sex­ual ha­rass­ment. ❚ On top of all that, they’re get­ting paid 80 cents on av­er­age for ev­ery dol­lar a man makes – a trend that’s ex­pected to con­tinue through the 23rd cen­tury. ❚ Data sug­gests that these work­place ad­ver­si­ties may have pushed a large share of fe­male work­ers to­ward start­ing their own busi­nesses in re­cent years.

En­trepreneur­ship

In De­cem­ber 2017, the Na­tional Women’s Busi­ness Coun­cil used the term “ne­ces­sity en­trepreneur­ship” to de­scribe the phe­nom­e­non where women turn to busi­ness own­er­ship as a so­lu­tion to unfair work­force con­di­tions.

At a rate of about 1,800 new busi­nesses per day, they’re build­ing a fu­ture work­ing class ecosystem that’s rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent than the one seen to­day.

Loans

Start­ing a busi­ness of­fers women more work sched­ule flex­i­bil­ity, bet­ter con­trol over their fu­ture and swifter ca­reer ad­vance­ment.

How­ever, there still are chal­lenges.

Women founders who ap­ply for bank loans re­ceive about 31 per­cent less money than their male peers, ac­cord­ing to a study re­leased ear­lier this year by Biz2Credit, an on­line com­pany that helps small busi­nesses find lenders.

In­dus­try matters

Women who start their own busi­nesses are most likely to en­ter the ser­vices sec­tor, kick­start­ing hair sa­lons, nail sa­lons and clean­ing firms, ac­cord­ing to Biz2Credit.

Al­most 20 per­cent of fe­male

busi­ness own­ers en­ter the ser­vice in­dus­try, 18 per­cent en­ter the re­tail trade and 14 per­cent start food com­pa­nies, Biz2Credit found.

For women who work for oth­ers, their job sat­is­fac­tion varies highly depend­ing on the job that they have, ac­cord­ing to the com­pen­sa­tion, cul­ture and ca­reer mon­i­tor­ing web­site Com­pa­ra­bly.com.

While 70 per­cent of male ex­ec­u­tives are happy with their pay, just 57 per­cent of fe­male ex­ec­u­tives feel the same. In the sales in­dus­try, 53 per­cent of men are just fine with their salaries while 37 per­cent of women say that they are paid fairly, ac­cord­ing to Com­pa­ra­bly, which de­rived its re­sults from ques­tions answered by more than 150,000 em­ploy­ees of all ages, ed­u­ca­tional back­grounds and eth­nic­i­ties.

Un­der­val­ued

The cur­rent wage gap be­comes par­tic­u­larly detri­men­tal when you look at how much less money women make over time com­pared to men.

Based on to­day’s wage gap, women earn $406,760 less than men over the course of a 40-year ca­reer, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Law Cen­ter. Lati­nas earn $1,135,440 less than men, and black women re­ceive $946,120 less over the course of a 40-year ca­reer.

And it’s even worse for mi­nori­ties. For Lati­nas, this life­time wage gap to­tals $1,135,440, and for Black women, the gulf adds up to $946,120.

Gen­der as a bar­rier

Both men and women agree that work­place gen­der is­sues oc­cur more of­ten in 2019 than they did in 2018, ac­cord­ing to Com­pa­ra­bly. Those sen­ti­ments could im­ply that there has been raised cul­tural aware­ness around gen­der in­equities over the past year as #MeToo and Time’s Up movements sparked na­tional con­ver­sa­tions.

Still, more women say that gen­der has neg­a­tively af­fected their ca­reers than men. Women who work in the in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy field say they feel the most held back, Com­pa­ra­bly found. Fifty-four per­cent of women in IT and 53 per­cent of fe­male en­gi­neers say they feel that their gen­der has re­sulted in ca­reer set­backs. By con­trast, 25 per­cent of women in ad­min­is­tra­tion and 30 per­cent of women who have cus­tomer sup­port jobs feel held back by their gen­der.

JEFF RU­BLE/USA TO­DAY AND GETTY IM­AGES

SOURCE Na­tional Women’s Law Cen­ter DALVIN BROWN, JANET LOEHRKE, USA TO­DAY

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