- The World Economic Forum (WEF) released distressing news for women workers in the U.S. and around the world last week: the global economic gender gap is widening — again. WEF records show a decline in gender equity over the past year based on pay, participation in the workforce and leadership, Quartz reports. WEF's Global Gender Gap Index ranks 144 countries on education, economic participation and opportunity, health and survival, and political empowerment. The gap is wider than the previous year for the first time.
- According to Quartz, the index shows that women are still earning less than men because they tend to perform unpaid work, are not in the workforce, are less likely to hold high-paid positions and work in industries offering lower average pay. At this rate, women won't achieve parity for 217 years, according to the study.
- Quartz says countries like Iceland are doing better than others, but that the U.S. and Great Britain are struggling to close the economic gender gap. Closing the gap could add billions of dollars to nations' gross domestic product (GDP). To put it into perspective, that could mean an extra $1,750 billion for the U.S. GDP.
Despite Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, numerous pay equity laws, bans on salary history questions and college studies on pay equity for HR professionals, gender-based economic disparities persist. Women of color are especially hit hard by bias in pay, hiring and promotions.
In September, Fortune reported a slight close in the gender pay gap, with women earning 80.5 cents of every dollar men earn, up from 79.7 cents. The reason, however, wasn't because women were paid on par with men, but because 20% of men had dropped out of the workforce.
Some companies, such as Google and Oracle, are being sued for allegedly paying women less than men for doing the same or similar work. If companies prove to be paying women less, it will be years before the gender pay gap closes.
Salesforce took the bold, courageous step of trying to close the gap immediately by making two $3 million payments to bring up women's wages. Not many companies could afford those sizable payments, but it might take bold steps like Salesforce's to end the disparity sooner.