Surely you’ve heard of the gender pay gap. Women earn a mere 76 cents on the dollar compared to men. However, that simple, yet stunning statistic only tells part of the story and doesn't paint a complete picture. According to the latest data from PayScale, the gender pay gaps shrunk in 2016 when compared to the previous year, albeit only slightly.
What this inequity really represents—is that women have less chance of holding high-level, high-paying jobs as men. Women are significantly less likely than men to hold management roles. The gap in opportunity is wider than in "equal pay for equal work."
At the start of the career, both men and women tend to work similar jobs, often entering the workforce at an individual contributor position. Over the course of their professional life, they then move into supervisor or manager -level roles, before eventually ending up in director and executive level positions. But inevitably men make these positions at significantly higher rates than their women counterparts.
Regardless of industry, men make more money than women. But based on the industry, the gaps do vary in size. The industry with the widest gender pay gap is the Finance sector, wherein an average woman's salary is roughly 29 percent less. The Business and Support Services industry has the smallest gap where women make about 7 percent less than men.
Nowadays, women are making themselves stand out in industries where they were unrepresented—or even unwelcome before. However, many sectors, including agriculture, finance, transportation, and manufacturing, still have a long way to go regarding wage inequality.
It is a vicious cycle, a ceaseless catch-22 of gender inequality. Women aren’t working the very same jobs as their male counterparts because they haven’t had enough time to earn that right and opportunity. Women have got a late start in most industries, and that’s never going to change.
The gender gap or the glass ceiling, whatever you choose to call it, is the white elephant in the room as it has started becoming the center of many conversations across the world. But we need less talk and more action. This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, especially if the world wants to solve impending challenges like climate change and depletion of energy.
The American Association of University Women predicts that at the current rate, we'll achieve pay parity and close the gap by, the year 2152.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. It requires patience and persistence, and it requires a long-term view. It's a cause worth pursuing, and a fight we shouldn’t give up on. Our daughters and future generations are counting on it.