The Gender Wage Gap & it’s Implications to our Society

It’s no secret overall women earn less than a man, when compared to equal professions but what about when you compare to minority, females of color? When you look at median, hourly earnings, women across all races lag behind all men in their own race or ethnic group and behind all white men. Asian and white women have narrowed the wage gap faster than black and Hispanic women.

The median hourly earning for an Asian woman was $18 in a 2015 study while a white women earned $17, compared to $13 and $12 for black and Hispanic, respectively. Since 1980, the wage gap has narrowed but remained stagnant ever since. Studies indicate an increase in educational attainment by women as a main factor as well as various workforce sectors becoming accustomed to employing women.

After multiple work-related conversations at various stages of my own life with colleagues, friends and family members, I have found we all have one thing in common: we have all been mistaken for being the secretary or help at one point or another and we all have been sexually harassed at our workplace. Yup, the #MeToo applies to everyone I have spoken to in my nearly three decades of working. There is nothing wrong with being a secretary but when you are the person leading, you wonder why you are being asked where the refreshments are located and/or to make the refreshments.

DATA & Gender Discrimination

As recent as 2017, four out of ten women have suffered gender discrimination at work. I just spoke to a friend today who was encouraged to apply for a job that would be a promotion for her. She wen through the application process (cover letter, resume, etc) only to be passed up by a man with less experience and less credentials after the initial interview. So basically, she applied to meet a quota for number of persons interviewed. She wondered if she were a male, how this scenario would play out.

Social Impact

Let's think about single parents? When you think of the term 'single parent,' what gender comes to mind? Most likely you think of a mom and a child and that is not an inaccurate assumption. According to U.S. Census data published in 2018 (survey from 2015) it is accurate to assume most single parents are mothers---to the tune of 80.4%. That means 19.6% of single parents are fathers.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics in 2015, over 70% of graduating high school females were enrolled in a 2-year or 4-year college program compared to 65% of men. So considering more women are obtaining post-secondary education credentials, more are considered the head of their household and yet there is still a gender wage gap, how do we expect communities to be economic viable? These figures resonate a little stronger for a first-generation, female student because they are changing the cycle of social mobility in their immediate families. So when they are not compensated accordingly, it is the whole community and our society that suffers.

Organizations like the help in changing these dynamics. The non-profit works to educate young girls and career women how to join and lead a board, be it a corporate or school board. Organizations that mentor and guide women through negotiating a salary increase (yes, this is important as at times the culture is such that underlying biases for both genders are shocked at a request for an increase in salary) are vital in 2020.

I began blogging as a way to express my observations about workforce and education but I have found through my side hustle, more and more clients are women seeking guidance on negotiating, re-building a resume or transitioning to a different career after staying at home to raise a child (or staying home to save money on childcare). While I believe it is good work that brings me happiness, I do wonder the following: what if we could start earlier in a girl's life? What if we can teach the 'how to' of a career earlier? So, I began writing curriculum in English and Spanish to see if this will help my community and yours as well. Stay tuned...

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