Pay Inequality: Women Do All of the Work, So Why Do We Get Paid Less?

Women, we get the short end of the stick. Not that we weren’t already aware of it.

We do all of the cooking, cleaning, and childcare, PLUS hold down a full-time job. And sometimes other part-time gigs, too (you PF bloggers know what I’m talking about).

So why do men get the bigger salaries?

Women are STILL making only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, on average. Forget you single ladies — you’re only earning a pathetic 57 cents for every dollar your male counterparts earn. And mothers earn 7 percent less than childless women.

We carry the babies, fill your stomachs, scour the pots, and make sure your underwear is clean. We make sure your clothes aren’t a wrinkled mess when you walk into the office in the morning, and some of us (not me) pack you a nice lunch every day.

Sure, we’ve come a long way, but we need to close up the wage gap. Jezebel put up an eye-opening chart that shows what a woman could do with the extra $10,000 a man makes per year, and then what she could buy with that money over a lifetime of work. And as we age, the wage gap becomes even larger!

The Economy’s Not Helping

Who out there has gotten a raise in the past few years? How about a bonus? You’re the lucky ones. Many people — both men and women — have had stagnant incomes.

We women work our asses off 24/7, and some of us haven’t even seen a cost of living raise in 4-5 years. I do realize it depends on the industry, but if we’re not given a chance to advance, how can anyone not expect morale and productivity to take a nosedive? Many of my male friends have continued to see raises, promotions and bonuses. Most of my female counterparts have not.All the while, prices are rising: gas and commuting, groceries, clothing. You know, the necessities.

Stereotypes Still Exist

A New York Post headline screams, “Wisconsin GOPer: Women make less because ‘Money is more important for men.'” Those are words from a state senator, folks, and I take offense. Money is important to women like me, too — we need it to keep food on the table, a roof over our heads (in Northern NJ, middle class folks need two incomes to pay for the average mortgage), and send our kids to college. Without money, it’s hard to survive. That’s why women want to make as much as the rest of you guys.

Yes, we birth the babies and get time off for that. Have you seen what we go through with pregnancy and labor/delivery? And nowadays, most of us head right back into the workforce after our maternity leave is up. The days of the stay-at-home mom are a thing of the past.

Ironically, Tuesday, April 17 was “Equal Pay Day.” At the current rate, it will take another 45 years to fully close the wage gap. I hope the sexism ends before our children enter the workforce.

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5 comments to Pay Inequality: Women Do All of the Work, So Why Do We Get Paid Less?

  • Alana

    I’ve been working at my current company for 6 years with no raise. I know for a fact that some of the men here in this company have gotten one, but the women here get the shaft (in the most discreet way possible so as not to cause any lawsuits).

  • You raise a great issue, thanks for this post!

    I want to point out though that statistics are tricky. I’ve studied this issue extensively as a sociologist, and the fact that “women make 77 cents to a man’s dollar” is not that simple. For example, women under 25 with bachelor’s degrees make 95% of what their male counterparts make, indicating that things have improved A LOT, even though that aggregate number has not budged much since the early 1990s. For older women (near retirement age), the gap is much bigger. When you average these things across the whole population, it looks pretty bad — 77 cents to a dollar, in fact. (Statistics from the book Shortchanged by Mariko Chang).

    Finally, even if the 77:100 ratio held for all segments of the population, we cannot automatically make the claim that this is from sexism. There are many other factors that we need to pay attention to that are not as nefarious as people being outright sexist — although there is undoubtedly some of that as well. Education, time in the work force (women tend to have more spotty employment records than me due to childbirth and taking time off), etc. are all factors that lead to men making more than women. These are still problems, but it’s not as sinister as it might look on the face of it.

    Looking for simple sound bytes from complicated data frequently leads to these types of conclusions. I’m not saying that this is an issue we can now ignore. What I am trying to point out is that really complicated patterns in data get lost when we try to say things like “women make 77 cents to a man’s dollar” or “50% of marriages end in divorce” (also dubious) without asking where these patterns come from when you look more closely. I think missing this nuanced point has dire consequences for men as well. Women are now earning 57% of bachelor’s degrees and rising. While we are stuck worrying about a the pay problem that is actually improving over time due to our hard work, men are at a growing disadvantage in another area that might become a problem if we don’t pay attention. Unfortunately, women were behind in every area for so many years that people are not used to thinking about whether men might eventually fall behind if we stop paying attention to them too.

    Anyway, I am not criticizing anyone at all for not being super into this really obscure part of social science data. I actually fight with people in my PhD program about this kind of stuff. I just wanted to (1) give some good news about women’s pay, because it is an issue that is very important to me too, and (2) point out that we need to be really careful about how people came up with their statistics and whether a simple punchline can convey the whole story.

  • Thank you so much for bringing this particular issue into light. its a stark reality that Male dominating society doesn’t give women the desired exposure they are looking for. Starting from home to the workplace, everywhere they are bound to get exploited and don’t get their fair share of recognition. We men are somehow or other responsible for this. Its high time, men and women share equal level of recognition and remuneration.

  • Oh that comment and article really chapped. The premise on which that argument was based, that men need to worry about providing while women don’t was incredibly insulting, myopic, and thoroughly inaccurate. It ignores single parents, separated parents, women with aging parents or other types of family to support.

    In my job, for myself and for my staff, a major goal is making sure that our salaries aren’t subject to these gender based prejudices. It’s hard enough fighting the performance, age and other biases, as Deena points out, the gender factor is yet another slippery factor among many. You know it’s there but it’s much more difficult to quantify that you might think. As recently blogged in my journey to grow my salary, you simply have to approach it holistically.

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