10 Appalling Statistics on the Gender Wage Gap and How We Can Change It

By Lindsey Ryan

You may have heard of the gender wage gap, but what are the actual statistics behind the gap? In a study produced by AAUW, the average woman with the same qualifications and experience make .82¢ or less for women of color for every $1 a man makes. But that’s not that much right? Wrong. Over a working career that could accumulate to over $900,000!

But what are the actual reasons why women are paid less? Keep reading for the top 10 reasons why women might be missing out on earnings. 

Race 

It’s shocking that women will make less than a man with the same qualifications, but what is even worse is that women of color actually make even less. 

But how much less exactly? 

These are the amounts women earn for every $1 a white male earns.  

  • Hispanic women: .55¢ 
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander women: .63¢
  • Black women: .63¢
  • White women: .79¢
  • Asian women: .87¢

How can we change this? Have a conversation with your workplace about the gender wage gap. In the wake of the massive job loss that occurred during the height of coronavirus, many women left or lost their jobs. If you are looking to get into a new career come in prepared to negotiate your salary.

Societal expectations

While they have always been strong women in just about every work field, there are decades of societal pressures put on women to be homemakers, work part-time, care for the family as opposed to excelling in high-paying careers like engineering or working at the executive level. 

In recent years, more and more women have been breaking the mold and showing the world that you can both. You can be a mother and the CEO or a single woman building her career in whatever she chooses. 

The pink tax

You won’t see this tax on your paycheck but if you’re a woman you’ve likely heard of it. Simply put, it costs more to be a woman. Women typically spend more on clothing, hair maintenance, aesthetic services and not to mention feminine care products that are added to our monthly bill. 

There are also studies conducted by Consumer Reports proving that items that can be used by either gender cost anyhwere from 1% – 50% more when the product is specifically marketed to women. 

These extra costs can take a real chunk out of a woman’s bank account on top of the fact that she will earn less than her male counterpart. 

Student debt

Women hold nearly ⅔ of the total American student loan debt – nearly 929 billion cumulatively. Because many women know about the gender pay gap – they seek high-level degrees to attempt to close this gap. Although women seek and earn these degrees it rarely gives them the boost they need to earn and save more. 

It’s not just everyday women

It’s not just your everyday women who see these pay gaps. Female athletes and entertainers have publicly spoken out about making significantly less than their male counterparts. 

In Forbes highest-paid actors article, the lists were broken into 2 categories: Male and Female actors. It was a highly discussed topic when readers summed up the total salaries paid to male actors was 748.5 million and the female actors total was 186 million. 

This comparison can also be seen among professional athletes. The highest-paid female athlete in 2019 was tennis great Serena Willams who earned 29.9 million in 2019, the highest-paid male athlete was Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi who earned $127 million. 

Sexual misconduct 

Most women have faced some sort of sexual misconduct in the workplace. Whether it’s a sly comment or a physical interaction women can often feel “less than” after an unwanted sexual advance happens at work especially if these advances are coming from your boss. This can force women into being silenced in the workplace and ultimately not wanting to move up in their careers. 

If you are experiencing unwanted sexual misconduct in your workplace, talk to human resources immediately. If that doesn’t help, ask other women for help. Movements like #metoo started through social media, women helping women and holding men in powerful positions accountable. 

Pregnancy

Carrying a child is one of life’s greatest miracles. While posting pictures of your baby bump in a flowy pastel dress is the dream – pregnancy isn’t always easy. For some women getting pregnant can be years of hormones, stress and heartbreak that is often hidden. For other women, pregnancy might have been an easier journey but you might face some apprehension on telling your workplace you are with child. 

gender wage gap and pregnancy

Why is this? As a woman, you might be feeling the pressure to continue as normal to avoid anyone thinking that you’ve become incapable of keeping up. Pregnant women have to push through being tired, uncomfortable, and sometimes a little more sensitive than usual. 

You might also have some thoughts of “what will my co-workers think?” “who will replace me while I’m on leave?” or “can I afford to take extra time off?” “how will I find childcare?”. 

All of these elements contribute to the internal and external pressures of being pregnant in the workplace. 

To get ahead of these pressures, talk to your managers and create a plan that works for your pregnancy needs. If that means an adjustment in hours, working from home or even just an upgrade to your work chair!

Having a baby

Now that baby has arrived there are a different set of emotions that could play into how and when a woman might return to work. Once a woman returns to the workplace there is often a stigma that women with children are less committed to work. 

Across the world, this is often called “The Motherhood Penalty”. Historically, the wage gap widens after becoming a mother. This happens because women are often expected to handle the majority of responsibilities at home while forgoing moving up in their careers, thus creating a larger wage gap for women who are also mothers.

Transitioning out and back into work after maternity leave is never easy, but with some meticulous planning you can prove that women can do it all.  

Reluctance to negotiate

Women tend to be more reluctant to negotiate their salary compared to men in the final hiring stages. Let’s change that! When you don’t negotiate a better salary or benefits, you’re leaving money in the table and in fact, hiring managers expect an appliucnat to counter their first offer.  

Need some more tips on negotiating? Check out our article on why women can and should neigotiate their salary

Closing the wage gap

Women Who Roar is dedicated to closing the gender wage gap and promoting women who can lead the way. 

Be the change for generations to come by negotiating your salary and knowing your worth. Trust us, employers are seeing the shift in women as leaders and having in the workforce can actually boost company profits.  

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