Is the wage gap in the US real? What is the gender pay gap?
After the celebration of International Women's Day last week, we take a look at the issue of gender pay disparity in the United States and the potential causes.
Tuesday, 8 March was International Women’s Day, the annual celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.
Many brands sought to turn the day to their advantage by posting about it on social media, attempting to portray themselves as a company that promotes the advancement of women in society. However many of them were called out by a Twitter account called ‘Gender Pay Gap Bot’, which responded to these International Women’s Day messages with the company’s record on pay parity.
Employment support organisation PayScale has recently posted its Gender Pay Gap Report for 2021 which found that women make just $0.82 for every dollar a man makes. They also found that the gender pay gap is even more pronounced for women of colour and for those working at higher jobs levels.
Pay gap is partially a result of job availability
The headline figure that a woman typically earns 18% less than a man is shocking, and one that illustrates the huge disparity between the economic status of women and men. In their report PayScale was able to dive deeper into the number to establish some of the causes for the gender pay gap.
They have also published details regarding the controlled pay gap, which adds in information for job title, amount of experience, education, industry of the job, location and various other factors which could affect wages.
Once this was done and women and men were compared with all these factors in mind, women made $0.98 for every $1.00 a man made.
This finding does not disprove the gender pay gap, but instead it points to the root of the problem. While women and men earn a similar amount when they find jobs in the exact same situation (in reference to the factors included in the controlled pay gap, above) the issue is that it is harder for them to find these roles.
If women are not able to gain the same experience or are overlooked for higher-paid jobs, amongst countless other potential situations, it will be much harder to secure higher salaries and shift the average pay of women closer to that of men.
Data from the Department of Labor found that across more than 350 different recognised occupations, there was only a handful where women earnt slight more then men. In the overwhelming majority of workplaces men earn considerably more.
Even in instances where women have a higher level of education they often left with a lower salary than men. DoL data figures show that, on average, women with an advanced degree still earn less than a white man with a bachelor’s degree.