In 25 years, the wage gap has narrowed by just 8 cents
Has Covid made it worse?
In a year of devastating job losses, especially for women – hence the talk of a “divestiture” – the Institute for Research on Women’s Policies published research at first glance it seemed like good news. In 2020, he found that the weekly wage gap between men and women for full-time workers was reduced from 18.5% to 17.7%. Sounds positive, right? Not so fast.
As Harvard’s Goldin explained, if the female workforce is reduced, but most of those reductions come from the lower end of the distribution (restaurant waiters and retail workers, for example), then the wages of women relative to those of men will increase.
This manifests itself in a general increase in the wages of women. And that’s what happened here.
But below the highest figure, Dr Mason pointed out, many lower paid workers are struggling.
What should businesses do about it?
Closing the wage gap requires an investment of time and resources.
First, companies can verify worker compensation and collect data to determine the levels of disparity between their male and female workers, said Serena Fong, vice president of Catalyst. Salesforce, for example, pledged to review all of its employee salaries in 2015 and, in the following years, spent more than $ 9 million on adjustments to give women equal pay.
Salary scales, which give the range of pay for a given role, can also help level the playing field between male and female workers in wage negotiations. (Although generally speaking, a wide salary range can provide “too large a range to pay people unevenly,” Dr. Mason said.)
What about governments?
The Equal Pay Act, passed almost 60 years ago, made sex discrimination in wage setting illegal. But in practice, it can be difficult for women to know if they are really being paid equally. It is not common to ask your coworkers what they are doing while you are chatting by the water cooler.
Over the past decade, more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation prohibiting compensation secrecy in the workplace. Always a 2017-2018 survey found that nearly half of full-time workers were discouraged or banned from talking about their pay, meaning more legislation and enforcement is needed.