How much time have you spent thinking about the gender pay gap and gender inequality in the workforce? I have to be honest, I had not devoted much time to it until I recently came across a series of interesting statistics and articles. For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women now comprise more than 50% of the US labor force for the first time in history. And though the ranks of women in management is steadily rising, it is yet progressing at a stubbornly slow rate into the upper echelons of corporations. Consider that only 15% of Fortune 500 companies and 5% of FTSE 100 companies are led by female CEOs. These may be record highs, but in the grand scheme, they are shockingly low. This is despite research that shows that companies with women on the board of directors vastly outperform all-male boards.
“Women compose only 17% of the UK’s technology labor force.”
And that’s not even including the technology sector. Google, Twitter and a whole slew of other top technology companies received heavy criticism this past spring for their skewed gender workforces (at the very least, we can credit them with being honest about their lack of diversity.) Unfortunately, this seems to be a wide-spread problem. The UK’s technology sector, for instance, is utterly male dominated. I find it somewhat embarrassing that women comprise only 17% of the UK tech workforce, even as the nation is facing a near crisis in availability of qualified engineers and STEM graduates.
“Men receive 25% more in Social Security benefits than women, even
though women live longer and depend on it for a greater share of
their retirement income.”
Coming back to the US, consider the long-term consequences. Let us consider that the pay gap extends deep into retirement age as well. According to the Social Security Administration, men, on average, receive 25% more in benefit payments than women do. The reasons are varied and we can debate the attenuating causes. However, there can be little debate about the impact on female retirees, who live longer than males and depend on Social Security for a far greater proportion of their retirement income.
As I mentioned earlier, the US workforce is now composed of women than men for the first time. So I felt it would be appropriate that for #BlogActionDay, I spend a little more time thinking about this issue. While I do not pretend to be particularly knowledgeable in the matter, I did find an insightful bit of advice from CareerBuilder.com’s Mary Lorenz about steps executives can take to reduce gender inequality in the workplace:
1. Many of us may not be consciously aware of stereotypes. Raising employee awareness of stereotypes and how they work is the first step.
2. Formal hiring and promotion criteria help reduce work inequality.
3. Review existing hiring criteria for inadvertent structural biases.
4. Create accountability among decision-makers.
5. Transparency creates accountability.
6. Publicly affirm the competence of women leaders.
(To read Mary’s full article, click here.) I hope you learned something new from my article today, as I certainly learned a lot while researching the subject. There is much more yet to learn, I’m sure. What has your experience been?
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