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Examining the Gender Pay Gap: Sectors Where Women Earn Even Less Despite Other Challenges


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Women have come a long way to achieve equity in the workplace over the past two decades, but the gender pay gap persists. Women still earn, on average, only about 82 cents for every dollar men earn, according to Payscale’s 2022 annual report on the state of the gender pay gap. However, that number drops even further for minority women, as gender and racial biases “create barriers to hiring, pay raises, referrals, promotions, and leadership,” the report’s authors write. .

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As the gap narrows – women earned an estimated 73 cents to every male dollar in 2014 – systemic biases and perceptions continue to prevent women from earning their true worth in the workplace. These biases result in women being mostly steered into lower paid jobs or careers related to housework, housekeeping and childcare, and caregiving.

The authors of the study write: “It should also be noted that work designated as ‘women’s work’ is also perceived as less valuable – unless men enter these professions.

Women are also generally expected to sacrifice their careers to raise their children. The high cost of child care in this country also prohibits some women from working because it doesn’t make financial sense. Mothers also suffer what Payscale calls the “motherhood penalty”, which means that when they are the primary caregivers of their children, they earn even less – closer to 74 cents compared to male parents.

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While this gender pay gap exists in almost every industry, some industries are more reluctant than others when it comes to paying women less than men. Here’s a closer look.

Finance & Insurance, Agencies & Consulting

Careers in these areas of finance and insurance pay women about 77 cents to the male dollar, Payscale reported. Agencies and consultants pay women about 83 cents per male dollar. All of these categories fall prey to gender stereotypes that suggest women are not good at math, problem solving, and related tasks, even though both industries have more women (around 53%) than men. .

Management & Consulting

Pay gaps are also still glaring in management consulting, said Emily O. Weltman, founder and principal consultant at Collective Flow Consulting.

“At both small independent consultants and large firms, gender pay gaps are persistent, as are [lack of] representation of black, brown and indigenous women,” she said.

She believes that the measures taken to close these gaps have only been “performative”, which is reflected in the figures. Additionally, she added, “There is a fundamental lack of respect in the industry for women, non-binaries and trans people. Men are still seen as the ones with the knowledge, the expertise and wisdom to impart.They still dominate all areas of business and economics, while women are often referred to as ‘coaches’ to do the same job as a ‘consultant’.

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Transport and storage

This industry pays women about 96 cents per male dollar – which is fine, relatively speaking – but is also known to be plagued by discrimination and stereotypes that women lack the physical strength for the types of lifts , transportation and other tasks as compared to men.

Better paid professions

Rather than getting better, Moses fears the gender gap in some areas is getting worse due to factors such as the under-representation of women in higher-paying professions and the biases associated with gender stereotypes about gender. aptitude of women in mathematics and science.

“Wage disparity still exists and in some circumstances even widens for women pursuing higher education. Female MBA graduates experience the greatest unrestricted pay disparity, earning 76 cents for every dollar earned by a male MBA graduate.

The toll of the pandemic on women

When things get tough economically, women tend to suffer more at work. Candice Moses, Financial Data Analyst and CMO of Information, pointed out that “More than a million women are still out of the workforce due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has had a disastrous effect on the advancement of women in the workplace. ”

She added: “The most affected groups are low-wage and part-time workers, as well as women of color.” Moses explained that experts predict that “the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19 would lead to a widening of the gender pay gap.”

According to Prudential’s first Pulse survey, Americans Prepare for the Economy’s Next Act, women are experiencing a “cession” where they have and may continue to be forced out of the workforce and face greater barriers to re-entry. The survey found that less than half of women (46%) said their financial confidence had increased during the pandemic, compared to 55% of men. Additionally, women own fewer financial assets such as emergency savings, retirement plans, and accounts such as pensions or mutual funds than men.

Industries with better pay equity

Despite these ongoing struggles, some industries are doing a better job, according to the Payscale report, including technology; engineering and science; immovable; and arts, entertainment and recreation.

Moses also reported that the unlimited gender pay gap for law degree holders is lower, with women receiving 89 cents for every dollar earned by men with law degrees. “This discrepancy stems from the fact that the legal sector has a more rigid and fixed compensation structure compared to finance, where bonuses are decided in a more ‘discretionary’ manner, which may benefit men who are more willing to devote time. overtime and asking for a raise.”

The gap may be closing, but the data shows that there is still a lot of work to be done to really go all the way.

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About the Author

Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a BA from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. His articles and essays on finance and other topics have appeared in a wide range of publications and clients including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times , Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for many commercial customers. As someone who had to learn a lot of her money lessons the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and how to live. a better quality of life.

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