The Gender Wage Gap: What It Means, Why It Matters And What's Changing
August 26 is Women’s Equality Day, a date to commemorate the acquisition of women’s right to vote. And, while it is true society has come a long way from topics like women's suffrage and the chauvinistic practices of the early twentieth century, the floor is far from leveled. Below is a closer look into the gender wage gap, what it means, why it matters and how things are changing in the business world.
In a recent paper, Harvard economist Claudia Goldin looked, among other topics, into “gender gaps in earnings over the life-cycle and by occupation.” While her charts are extremely interesting and informative, a version published on Vox might be easier to interpret.
It is a widely known fact that women make about 21 percent less than men for performing equivalent tasks — with African American women and Latinas making even less. However, how this works is not so much a general knowledge issue. What the chart above shows is that, early in a women’s career, the gender wage gap is relatively petite. However, as women embark into their 30s and 40s, the gap becomes much larger.
The doodle that author Sarah Kliff added is a wink at what happens: As soon as women have children and start raising them, their salaries start to part from men’s wages. In fact, recent studies have suggested the wage gap for women with kids (versus men) is twice as large as the gap for childless ladies.
Of course, women in general, politicians, activists and corporate executives are constantly talking about the issue and about the need for a solution. But this is not an easy task. However, the United States' business-professional woman is starting to look for an out.
A Solution On The Horizon
Back in June, the White House announced its Equal Pay Pledge, which included a commitment from numerous companies to help close the gender wage gap. On Friday, the House announced the first signees, which included:
- Accenture Plc (NYSE: ACN)
- Care.com Inc (NYSE: CRCM)
- Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO)
- Dow Chemical Co (NYSE: DOW)
- Expedia Inc (NASDAQ: EXPE)
- Godaddy Inc (NYSE: GDDY)
- Jet.com (recently purchased by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT))
- L'Oreal USA
- Mercer International Inc. (NASDAQ: MERC)
- PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP)
- Rebecca Minkoff
- salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE: CRM)
- Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS)
- Stella McCartney
- Visa Inc (NYSE: V)
Other Signees, As Reported By The Media
Other companies that have signed in, as reported by various media outlets, include:
- Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB)
- Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)
- International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM)
- Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT).
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Disclosure: Javier Hasse holds no interest in any of the securities or entities mentioned above.
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