Women working full time, year round in 2013 earned an average of $0.78 for every dollar earned by men working full time, year round. In all but one of the occupations, stock clerks and order fillers, however, women earn less than men. Women in that one occupation, employing 0.7 percent of women in the full-time labor force, made $10 more per week than men. Both male and female health practitioner support technologists and technicians have the same median earnings per week, again employing 0.7 percent of women in the full-time labor force. The largest wage gap was $633 more per week for men in the personal financial advisor field.
The argument that the wage gap comes from “women’s choices” doesn’t hold water because this gap persists when women choose the same jobs as men. For example, male surgeons earn 37.76 percent more per week than their female counterparts; women make almost $40,000 less per year than men. The same problem is true for lower-paying, female-dominated careers: women are 94.6 percent of all secretaries and administrative assistants but earn 84.5 percent of what men in the same field do.
In nursing, a career with ten women to every man, male nurses make between $3,800 and $17,000 more than women each year. In a study of over 290,000 nurses, men made about 8 percent more every year from 1988 to 2013, taking into consideration location, age, race, marital status, and children. Two reasons given are gender discrimination and stronger negotiating skills on the part of men.
Education doesn’t explain the wage gap because women finish college and graduate school at higher rates than men. The answer is policies that support women who are expected to provide the vast majority of care for their families—paid sick days, paid family leave, equal pay protections, and pay transparency.
In a study of almost 10,000 MBA graduates, all with full-time jobs lined up, women’s starting salaries were almost $15,000 less than for men. The arguments of different work experience, flexibility to care for children, desire for part-time jobs, and no ambition for the top—all misplaced arguments for the gender wage gap—have no relevance in this comparison. In 17 of 22 industries, women were offered less starting money than men–in finance, $22,000 lower.
Today, April 14, is Equal Pay Day, representing how far into a new year that full-time working women have to work to earn as much as men did the previous year: 104 days. That’s an extra three months and fourteen days to make an “equal” pay for men last year.
Last fall, the Paycheck Fairness Act failed for the fourth time in the U.S. Senate, with a unanimous GOP vote, including all four women. The law would help women learn whether they earn less than male colleagues and require employers to explain why two similarly qualified workers earn different wages. It was the third time since 2012 that Republicans voted down the bill. The most recent bill had 52 votes but needed 60 to break the filibuster.
According to Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), she voted against the law because it might prohibit merit-based pay and the Democrats had opposed her amendment. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said that the Civil Rights Act and the 1963 Equal Pay Act provide enough protection. Tea Partier Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) said, “It’s a one-sided vote for political reasons, so [Democrats] can use it in campaigns.” These women all receive $174,000 per year, the same salary as their male counterparts. That’s 4.6 times women workers’ median yearly income but only 3.5 times that of working men.
Women not only work longer to make the same pay as men but also have to pay more for the same items. Twenty years ago, a California study showed that women’s razors, cologne, moisturizers, and haircuts cost more even if it was the same product as for men. The higher price tag for women was approximately $151 billion a year. Twenty years later, though, women are still paying more than men.
The “pink” tax is still with us, and The Daily Share has a video to show this. Pink razors still cost more than blue ones, and the Neutrogena facial moisturizer marketed for women at $11.42 is ten percent more expensive than the one retailed for men at $10.35. Both have the same ingredients. Neutrogena explained that the price differences “are related to a number of factors, including packaging differences, modifications of the formulation that impact the manufacturing process, and the discretion of each retailer.”
The additional costs for women keep mounting. Men can get a hair trim for $28 while women might pay $44, almost 60 percent more. Although an oxford shirt may cost men and women the same, the dry-cleaning for women’s clothes costs more than for men. Some cleaners refuse to launder women’s shirts, requiring females to pay for dry-cleaning their clothes.
Last fall, a change.org petition addressed the gender discrimination at Old Navy. Plus-size women pay much more for their larger sizes–$40 instead of $27–but men pay the same for their jeans no matter what the size—just $25. In addition, larger men don’t have to go to a different department for their jeans. Old Navy’s excuse about making women’s clothing more “flattering and on-trend” doesn’t hold up because the company doesn’t charge more to “flatter” petite-size women. After almost 100,000 signatures, Old Navy said that it would send the issue to its customer panel but has made no actual changes.
Late in 2012, Bic released a pen designed for women. Ellen DeGeneres made it the topic of a monologue on her talk show and produced her own ad for the product. “They’re just like regular pens,” she said, “but they’re pink, so they cost twice as much.” The comments show that women get the irony of charging more for “pink.” Another company even produced a pink globe.
In unisex styled shirts, women still pay more. The women’s version of this Hanes tee is $2 more per shirt (a 20% increase), despite being smaller and cut in the same “relaxed” fit as the men’s. At Target, women pay 36 percent more to get an almost identical bicycle as the one sold for men. Car purchases and repairs cost more for women.
Tariffs also ding women in their pocketbook. Twelve years ago, Michael Cone, a New York City trade lawyer, found that men’s sneakers were taxed at 8.5 percent compared to the ten-percent tax for women’s sneakers.
Women are poorer in every state; the difference is more pronounced in Southern states—particularly Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Nationwide, 15.5 percent of women live in poverty, compared Single mothers fare far worse than single fathers, almost twice as likely to be living in poverty at 43.1 percent compared with 23.6 percent. Check here to see the wage gap by state.
Girls are taught from childhood that they are valued less than boys. A study found that almost 70 percent of boys get an allowance as compared to under 60 percent of the girls. At the same time, girls do more than two hours more housework a week than boys who spend twice as much time playing. Boys are also 15 percent more likely to get an allowance for doing household chores than boys. Just as in adulthood, females are expected to work without pay.
Nothing shows the reality in the United States wage gap better than the cover of the University of North Georgia’s latest continuing education catalog that shows the white men ahead after getting a UNG education. The image is obviously a matter of poor judgment, but women make less money and pay more than men for the same products. The school has apologized and reprinted the catalog. In the same way, federal and state legislators should pass laws for paycheck fairness and genderless charges for products and services.