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Why Women Continue to Earn Less Than Men

by Beth on March 2nd, 2011

The White House just released a new report entitled Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being.  The first comprehensive federal report on women in almost 50 years shows that while women have gained in education and workforce participation, they still lag behind when it comes to income equality, earning 80 cents per dollar that men earn in comparable positions.

Out-dated work model

One reason women earn less than men is that many of them have opted out of workplaces that follow the traditional masculine work model.  These cultures don’t give women the flexibility they need to earn incomes and thrive at work while also raising a family.  Until more companies create a positive culture that supports women by offering flexible hours, the option to work from home, etc., women will continue to look for alternatives to climbing the corporate career ladder.

Women don’t ask

Another reason that women have lower income is because they are less likely than men to negotiate higher salaries.  In their book, Women Don’t Ask, Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever highlight numerous studies that show that women don’t ask for things they want nearly as often as men do.  In one study almost nine times as many males as females asked for more money!  The authors suggest that by neglecting to negotiate her starting salary for her first job a woman can lose over half a million dollars in earnings by the end of her career.

So in order to for women to reduce the wage gap they first need to find positive workplaces that will provide them with the flexibility they need to achieve work-life fit.  They also need to be more assertive in negotiating their salaries.  Often it doesn’t even occur to women to ask for more money.  Thus, an important step towards income equality is for women to recognize the need become more proactive in asking for pay raises.

From → Working women

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