Jill On Money: The gender wage gap is stuck
The gender pay gap, which is the difference between the earnings of men and women, has been stuck for years.
In 1982, women earned just 65 cents to each dollar earned by men. The differential narrowed, but since 2002, the numbers have barely budged. In 2022, U.S. women typically earned 82 cents for every dollar earned by men.
It would be great if there were a single cause of the differential, because then policy makers and employers might be able to craft a solution.
But the Department of Labor has found “that the majority of the gap between men and women’s wages cannot be explained through measurable differences between workers, such as age, education, industry or work hours. It is highly likely that at least some of this unmeasured portion is the result of discrimination, but it is impossible to capture exactly in a statistical model.”
Here's what we know: Women get paid less than men, despite the job that they hold (“Regardless of occupation group, women always have lower average earnings than men”); the types of jobs that women dominate (i.e., childcare workers, domestic workers, and home health aides) pay less in general; and parenthood seems to positively impact men’s wages, but for mothers, not so much.
It makes sense that many younger mothers tend to work fewer hours or take time out of the labor force, which can set them back temporarily. Conversely, Pew Research finds that “fathers are more likely to be in the labor force – and to work more hours each week – than men without children at home. This is linked to an increase in the pay of fathers – a phenomenon referred to as the “fatherhood wage premium” – and tends to widen the gender pay gap.”
In addition to the blatant fairness issue, earning lower wages also means that women are robbed of the ability to save and invest for themselves and their families, which leads to a long-term wealth gap. Until the system changes, it is incumbent on women to advocate for themselves – and to ask for what they deserve. In my book, The Great Money Reset, I lay out five steps to “BULLY Your Boss”:
Before approaching your boss, clarify to yourself what you want...make sure you’re considering the full array of possible requests you might make.
Understand the full picture: Lay the groundwork for a successful pitch by doing some research...confirm that your requests are reasonable — or, on the flip side, ambitious enough. Gather various proof points and insights that will support you when you’re making the pitch to your boss.
In delivering your pitch, come across as bold and confident, but don’t appear arrogant, antagonize your boss, or put them on the defensive. Instead of focusing solely on you, keep your boss and their needs firmly in mind even as you convey your own desires.
Deliver your pitch in front of a mirror or have someone take a video of you delivering it. Better yet, do what I do and role-play the conversation with a friend or relative, having them play your boss.
Even with solid preparation, you can never be sure how your conversation with your boss will go. Avoid giving your boss an ultimatum (“I’m leaving if you don’t give me XYZ”) when your softer entreaties fail to bear fruit.
(The excerpts are from The Great Money Reset by Jill Schlesinger. Copyright (c) 2023 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Publishing Group. Available for purchase at the retailer of your choice: https://www.jillonmoney.com/the-great-money-reset)
(Jill Schlesinger, CFP, is a CBS News business analyst. A former options trader and CIO of an investment advisory firm, she welcomes comments and questions at email@example.com. Check her website at www.jillonmoney.com)
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