- When comparing men and women with equal education, with the same college majors working in the same occupation, women still earn only 92 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to a new Georgetown University report, Women Can’t Win: Despite Making Educational Gains and Pursuing High-Wage Majors, Women Still Earn Less than Men.
- The overall wage gap remains at 81 cents on the dollar — a number that involves women's education and career choices and the fact that women work part-time to accommodate family responsibilities more often than men do. But as the 92 cent figure reveals, discrimination and bias remain a big part of the problem.
- The wage gap has narrowed drastically in recent decades, however, and the report attributes this, in large part, to women attending and graduating college in greater numbers than men and increasingly pursuing high-paying majors in STEM and business.
Self audits and structured pay practices can help employers ensure that their compensation practices aren't discriminatory. Such actions aren't just key to avoiding enforcement efforts; some say they boost morale and improve retention. Employers also may soon have little other choice; as salary history bans appear around the country, companies are being forced to formalize pay plans.
And for employers hoping to take a broader view, a close look at the Georgetown study's full results also can help HR identify barriers to women's engagement and development, and act to remove them.
Finally, some companies are going even one step further, trying to overcome the cultural biases that sometimes drive women into lower-paying fields. From stand-alone events that introduce girls to STEM fields to long-term partnerships with groups like the Girl Scouts of the USA, stakeholders in industries that are struggling with diversity are finding that that change starts with the earliest learning opportunities.