The Pew Research Center recently issued a study on gender pay in 2020. Researchers found that the pay gap remained at 84% of what men earn for similar work, much as it has for the last 15 years. The research looked at full- and part-time employees. This discrepancy means that women must basically work and work extra 42 days annually to match the pay of their male peers.
Younger women did better then and now
One bright spot in these numbers was that younger women between the ages of 25 and 34 earned 93% of what men in the same age group did. This is considerably better than that same age group did in 1980, making 67% of male workers in similar jobs. For reference, the overall gap 40 years ago was 64% of what men earned.
Why does this still happen?
The study goes on to explain some of the reasons the gap remains so stubborn. Even though there have been gains such as a larger presence in higher-paying positions traditionally held by men (executives, managers and professionals), women remain overrepresented (relative to their numbers) in lower-paying jobs. Another notable statistic is that 42% claimed discrimination on the job, which is nearly double the number of men’s claims.
Motherhood interrupts their career path
The demands of motherhood impact careers in several ways:
- Women were more likely to take longer median leaves than men after giving birth or adopting.
- Women were more likely to juggle more caregiving responsibilities even when they have a full-time job.
- Women were more likely to work fewer hours because of family.
- Women were more likely to turn down promotions because the job would demand more time.
Lack of recognition also higher
Some may argue that raising a family is a choice, but more women also felt management did not recognize their work. To illustrate the gender gap, the following statistics measure mothers/fathers:
- Treated as if they lacked commitment to the job: 27%/20%
- Passed over for an important assignment: 19%/14%
- Passed over for promotion: 19%/13%
Businesses may need to readjust metrics
The benefits of a diverse workforce at all levels are clear. Nonetheless, the numbers remain uneven. To help their businesses grow, managers and owners may need to look at how they measure performance and job expectations. If they recalibrate their metrics or make other changes, it could mean another step towards equal pay. Employees can also help this process by citing unfair treatment or professional indignities to (hopefully) ensure they receive equal treatment.