It’s hard to believe, given the strides women have made in the workforce, but, yes, we still earn less than men. There are women in Congress, women chief executives like Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, or Virginia Rometty, CEO of IBM, and powerful women in the media like Oprah Winfrey. Yet 50 years after Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, woman who work full time still earn just 77 cents for every dollar earned by a comparable man. That’s just not right. A spotlight is falling on this issuethanks to a Senate vote expected this coming Tuesday on the Paycheck Fairness Act.
According to the U.S. Census, by age 65 the average women would have lost $431,000 over her working lifetime as a result of this pay gap. A report by Payscale says that college-educated women’s earnings start trailing off in comparison to men at age 30, when they start having children, and women’s pay stops growing at age 39, when their typical wage is at $60,000 per year. For, men however, pay stops growing at age 48 when their typical wage is at $95,000 per year. Since men and women generally pick different types of jobs that pay on varying scales, Payscale did an apples-to-apples comparison of what men and women make, all other factors held equal. This is what they came up with.
The male software developer median annual salary is $65,700, which is about 4 percent more than the median female value of $63,300. The Payscale report, however, seems to imply that women are not really that far off from men in the wages they earn and if they are, it’s only because they tend to pick lower paying jobs like teaching and nursing versus male dominated technology jobs. In reading some reader commentary from the report, some people think that women call in sick more often than men, leave their jobs after they get married and tend to come in late and leave work early more often to take care of their children. Some people say that men make more because “by nature” they tend to pick high risk and more dangerous jobs.
However, the fact is women still make less than men despite what type of job they choose or how many sick days they take or how late then come in to work. To back this up, President Obama is supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act, designed to update the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and help close the pay gap.
What do you think? Do you believe women still earn less than men for the same work effort, and why?