Are We Closing the Gender Gap at Work?

More than 50 years ago women earned about 60
percent on average of what men earned when working year-round full time. That
percentage was steady up until the 1980s when there was considerable progression
in the movement. The percentage then increase to about 72 percent where it has
remained for nearly two decades only rising by 5% in the past 20+ years.

More women are entering school and the
workforce in numbers like never before. Still, women only make
77% of what their male counterparts make
according to Bloomberg Businessweek. I hadn’t thought much about the
gender gap at work until the birth of my daughter. I was blissfully
unaware. How I managed my day, multi-tasked and prioritized my life are
different because of being a woman. Does this have anything to do with
the gender gap at work? Absolutely not.

Because of the gender gap women miss out on over
$431,000 dollars
over the span of a 40-year career. That is twice the
amount of an average priced home. At the current rate of the gender gap it will
take nearly 38 years for the gap to be closed and both men and women being paid
equally. This timeframe is disturbing especially because women have higher GPAs
and leave college with the same amount of debt.

In 2012 an effort was made to help close
the gender gap faster by the creation of the Paycheck Fairness Act, that would
have required employers to disclose salary data to the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission. This act was shot down by the U.S. Congress, which is
made up
of 90% males
. Other efforts to close the gap were enacted by President
Obama who quietly issued a compensation survey to research federal contractors
and enacted the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

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Big pushes for equal pay for women were
hot topics during the 2012 Presidential Debates and both candidates made
promises to make huge strides in the arena. Unfortunately even with the passage
of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act wages for women still suffer and are less
than their counterparts. Struggling to gain 17 percent in 60 years is unacceptable and there must be more done in the world of work to fix this issue. So to answer the question initially posed, Are We Closing The Gender Gap at Work? My answer is, not fast enough.

What will it take for women to see a final push to make up for that last 23 percent?

Jessica Miller-Merrell,
SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media.
She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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