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why do women get paid less than men

Mark Twain once said There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. When it comes to the gender pay gap, there seems to be a never-ending stream of statistics and data about whether there s a pay gap, how much of one there is, and if there is one what causes it. In these debates about the gender pay gap, there s an unspoken assumption by some people that maybe there actually is no issue with the fact that men and women get paid differently so long as those reasons are because of the different choices that men and women make, their experience or education levels. Our fellow review site, has just released data based on over 500,000 U. S. employees and looked at the gender pay gap to try to explain it s causes. They found:
A 22% difference in total pay after controlling for age, education, and years of experience A 11% difference in total pay after controlling for industry, occupation, state, year and employer size In short, after controlling for pretty much everything that could be controlled for, there s still a difference of 7% in total compensation between men and women that can t be explained. Perhaps that remaining difference is due to discrimination or bias, but it s hard to say. Moreover, points out just how complex the gender pay gap issue is. Just because something is explainable doesn t mean it is not based or related to bias and discrimination. In other words, do women opt not to study, and work in certain job titles, employers and industries because they are dissuaded by bias or culture there?

If the answer is yes, just because there is an explanation doesn t mean that explanation is perfectly benign. Moreover, does age and years of experience matter if two people are doing the identical job? Progressive employers such as, and, among others have conducted internal gender pay audits. We don t know the exact details of these audits but many have described the key to equalizing pay between men and women at their firms is to simply pay according to the job function performed rather than look at historical salaries, or other measures. The basic idea is that if you, you should get paid what that job is worth irrespective of your education or years of experience. Whatever the reason for the gender pay gap, sometimes we think it s important to step away from the weeds and look at the bigger picture. Whatever the reason for average pay differences between men and women, I think most of us would do well to consider the fact that. Stop and think about that for a moment. Imagine if that statistic were flipped on it s head and there was no country where on average, men were paid as much as women. What would that world look like and what would it mean in terms of our governments budgets, our society s investments, and our companies teams? Moreover, how likely would it be that men would accept this?

What s clear to us is that on an individual level, if you re a woman in the workplace, you have good reason to tread carefully when it comes to your pay. You may in fact be paid perfectly fairly, but it s never hurts to do your (and negotiate)! There are many ways to look at the explosive issue of why women earn less than men: Are you comparing men and women in the same exact job, at the same company? Or aggregate figures skewed by the fact that more women work in schools and hospitals and fewer advance to the top ranks of lucrative professions such as banking? What the numbers lay bare depends on how they re assembled. Yet in almost all cases, they provoke outrage, like the revelations about the gender pay gap in, at the and among drivers. In the U. K. , a new law requiring large companies to disclose their pay gap is putting real numbers on wage inequality. the flood of data will push women s wages up. it s a simplistic way to look at a stubborn problem. Companies with 250 or more workers in Britain were required to unveil a blunt, uniform assessment of what women earn versus men by April 4. Some of the widest gaps appeared at banks such as and, which pay women in their workforce less than half of what men earn on average. That s largely because women are under-represented in senior roles. gives workers the right to compare their pay with up to six colleagues of the opposite sex who have the same job.

The U. S. has moved away from requiring more reporting. President Donald Trump s administration reversed an Obama-era rule change that would ve compelled companies to report pay information to the government. But some companies are doing it anyway: Under pressure from activist shareholders, several large U. S. banks, including Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase Co. an. That led some critics to. In the U. S. , the typical job-to-job gap, for workers of equal education and experience, is about 5 percent. In France and Germany, it s about 3 percent. Historically, the pay gap has been fed by beliefs that women should stay at home or doubts that they could perform jobs as well as men. Thus they earned lower salaries, even as they entered the workforce in larger numbers. These days, the debate is colored by the fact that women still do a disproportionate share of household work and childcare, so are more likely to work part time, work from home, or drop out of the workforce after they have children. When the U. S. passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, American women earned, in aggregate, roughly 60 percent of what men did. Over the next 30 years the gap was cut in half to about 80 percent but has been relatively stagnant since the 1990s. Nordic countries are often lauded for having near economic parity but they still have female workforces that earn at least 15 percent less than men on average. for employers, and that the data can distort the issue, sow confusion and damage reputations.

When comparing how much all women earn versus all men, much of the gap is caused by the way women lower-paying fields such as education, nursing or administration. Yet studies show that the gap widens as women age, have children and enter higher-paying careers. In that sense, the figures can highlight a gap in. Supporters of more equality say the new transparency provides a deeper level of insight that makes it easier to address discrepancies and monitor results. Many companies have vowed to revise their hiring and compensation practices to create an egalitarian workforce. The Silicon Valley company Salesforce Inc. , for example, runs an of its workforce and adjusts the salaries of any employee woman or man found to be inexplicably underpaid. Then there s the question of whether fixing the disparity means paying women more, or paying men less. The BBC decided not to address its by only raising the salaries of underpaid women; it also the salaries of select men. U. K. companies have disclosed their gender wage gap on. A QuickTake on the U. K. s. Five years after Lean In, Bloomberg Businessweek. Businessweek asks. on the global average wage gap. A Stanford University and Freakonomics Radio episode on why female Uber drivers earn less than men. First published March 23, 2018 at at

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