We hear a lot about the pay gap and there certainly is one. But what we’re learning is that the pay gap isn’t all about discrimination. The choices women make matter too. Nothing is all or nothing! – InPower Editors (updated May 13, 2016)
Finding: Everyone agrees there is still an equal pay gap between what men and women earn, but how big the gap is and how it’s measured – is still up for discussion.
InPower Insight: Depending on which data you look at, there is hope for women to be paid equally with men, but it’s still an uphill effort that requires each woman to assert her own worth.
The equal pay gap is somewhere between 7% and 23%, depending on how you crunch the numbers and which groups you look at.
The most often quoted statistic from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) analyzes annual wages and finds – on average – a 23% pay gap between what men and women make. It’s worth noting that white women fair better than other minority groups, including African-American and Hispanic men.
This research by the NWLC finds distinct wage gap differences based on age, with younger women experiencing a smaller gap than men.
Pew Research, which does their analysis based on hourly wages instead of annual wages, has also found that millennial women – who are less likely to be cutting back hours for child-care, share work values with their male colleagues and are the best educated group of people ever – are making about 93% of what the males next to them earn. Pew notes that this may change as these young women age and have families. In all age groups, three times more women than men report that having children makes it harder for them to advance in their careers (51% to 16%).
Pew also finds that the wage gap is narrowing in part because women’s wages are going up as compared to men’s wages, which are trending down. Based on their analysis of hourly wages, on average, women in all age groups are making 84% of the wages men make.
Taking yet another slice at the data, based on weekly wages, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) finds the average figures show that women early 19% less than men. BLS data shows interesting distinctions by race, also, showing that African-American and Hispanic women, while earning less than their male counterparts, have a smaller gap to close within their own communities.
There are some situations in which executive women benefit a “female premium” and earn more than their male peers. This is apparently due to the fact that they work in companies with meaningful diversity goals for executive leadership.
Career Coaching Tip: Left to its own devices, most companies and our society don’t seem inclined to pay you what you’re worth, which leaves the burden on you to ask for it. Make sure you’re asking for it and when you can, choose to work for a company that has demonstrated a commitment to meaningful diversity in it’s leadership programs.
Keywords: equal pay, pay gap, wage gap, pew research bureau of labor statistics