You have probably heard this one before. A man and a woman work the same job. They have the same qualifications, background, age, etcetera. One difference: their gender. The result? About a 20% income difference, at least. Sounds familiar, right? Here is a reminder from Exhibit A: Patricia Arquette. She has won nearly every award within her category for her performance in the film “Boyhood,” but at the biggest awards ceremony of the year, the Oscars, here’s what she has to say in her speech: “To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” It is a heck of a platform to do that, and it goes to show that businesses are not the only guilty ones in this troublesome pattern.
Mind you, everyone is different and offers something different, something that can radically impact the difference in salary between one person and another. However, when you start trying to draw the line between dissimilarities in skill set and signs of gender discrimination, things get a bit messy.
If anything, we still get this reminder that while we should be aware of it, we never have a complete idea of how widespread it is. On one hand, the gender gap has been narrowing for over the past 100 years and was up to 0.80. On the other hand, this narrowing has stalled in the late 1990s, and not much has changed since. One could argue that employers have to consider that some women tend to go on maternal leave, and that some never come back, but has the income ratio between men and women reached its peak? Should it be a one-to-one ratio? Many activists argue “yes.” The first step of course is consistent awareness.
If it keeps coming up, what does that tell us in regards to what is being done?