Meghan Casserly, member of the Forbes staff, reports on how complex the situation is regarding women’s rights to equal pay in her article “How Women’s Low Expectations Perpetuate The Gender Pay Gap”. She refers to Universum’s research on salary expectations that indicates a gender pay gap of 7000 USD (Casserly 2013).
Camille Kelly, vice president of employer branding at Universum, is quoted saying that the gap has increased by nearly 10% compared to last year. This is especially surprising in our information age, points out Casserly. The question is “Why?”
As Jonas Barck, global head of commercial partnerships at Universum, explains, the situation is a complex one and there are many factors to consider. It’s important that we educate students and create awareness about the gap to help promote equality, he adds.
Yet as Kelly highlights, revising salary expectations will not necessarily solve the problem. According to Kelly, undergrads have a realistic view of what they could expect to earn on their first job.
Casserly reports that women, in comparison to men, earn 77 cents to the dollar. The situation worsens when you look at race and ethnicity, she adds.
Although negotiating for higher pay is important, it will not solve the issue, emphasizes Casserly. Graduates are not in a negotiating position in the current economic climate. Moreover, their first salary impacts what they make throughout their working career. Recent numbers show that the average white working women suffers a lifetime setback of 443,360 USD
Casserly suggests that Paycheck Fairness Act, which will make it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women, be instated. More urgently, she advocates a policy of salary transparency starting from top management levels. Casserly believes that such action would move women to demand equal pay.
The Forbes article concludes referring to a recent Bloomberg study that shows that disparity exists even in higher level management positions. Female leaders in the U.S. on average earn 5.3 million USD – around 18% less than their male counterparts.
Casserly, Meghan (2013). How Women’s Low Expectations Perpetuate The Gender Pay Gap. Forbes. [Online] Available from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/meghancasserly/2013/09/10/how-womens-low-expectations-perpetuate-the-gender-pay-gap/ [Accessed: 12 September 2013].