The Gender Pay Gap Rears Its Rigid Head Again

The gender pay gap rears its ugly head again. The Pew research centre has released yet another report that shows that there has hardly been any movement between 2002 and now in the gender pay gap. For more than twenty years, the needle has hardly moved. In 2022 women in the US earned 82% of what men earned and in 2002 it was 80%!

 

All that effort for a mere 2%? I say all that effort because Ipsos released a survey that showed 58% of men and 49% of women thought that efforts for gender equality had gone too far. Yep, we are beginning to get on people’s nerves. So what else do we have to do to truly move the needle? Women are now getting more degrees than men, there are more initiatives to push women into STEM. There is more gender-based training in the workplace to make it less hostile to women, so what exactly is making the pay gap refuse to close?

 

There is the small matter of parenthood. OK, not small at all but the life-changing matter of parenthood. As someone who specialises in working mothers, I know they have a huge mountain to climb every day. Even if they start off on the same salary as their male counterparts, at some point, biology is going to kick in and society is going to put them at a disadvantage.

 

They are going to pay the motherhood penalty financially, and if they are not careful with their health and well-being. As they struggle to go toe to toe with the men who are unencumbered with the same societal expectations, it becomes an unequal playing field and they burn out, drop out, cut down their hours, or go to less-paying jobs.

 

The Pew research shows that women between the ages of 24-35 in 2010 at the start of their careers were edging close to parity at 93% of what their male counterparts earned but twelve years later in 2022 when they were aged between 35-47 earned 84% of what the men earned.

 

Have we been looking at the wrong drivers for gender pay parity perhaps? Not necessarily but we now know that women cannot be working 15-hour days consistently, combining their family and work responsibilities and competing effectively with the men.

 

Our efforts now should be focused on how we can support these women. 

  • How the workplace can be made more equitable. 
  • How society can change its view of what should be a woman’s responsibility. 
  • How men can be educated to support women and equitably share the parenting burden.

 

This is going to require some bold action on the part of the government, the world of business, and women themselves. These women will have to have some difficult conversations with their managers and partners to share the responsibility of bringing up the next generation. 

 

Women should be unfairly penalised for allowing their bodies to play host to the next generation and for ensuring that our pensions are paid in the future, this should be a shared societal responsibility.

If you’re a working mother and you’re struggling in an unequal playing field brought by the gender pay gap, grab a chat with me here. If you want to hear more from me, you might be interested in my FREE masterclass – register here to watch anytime.