Women's Wage Gap – Is this really news?

Posted: September 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Women's Wage Gap – Is this really news?

Women in Washington, D.C. make an average of $54,000/year (they ranked #1) compared to women in Puerto Rico who make an average of just $20,000/year (they ranked last). Hold on to your hats though because the ladies in Puerto Rico are pulling in 103.3 cents for every one dollar man makes compared to just 88.2 cents in Washington, D.C.

Okay, I’ll admit that these stats and facts are interesting but is it really news? The whole idea that this is something “new” is a bit insane to me. As a Hispanic woman, I’ve known that I make less than white men for a long time (read: over 17 years). Why is the media so up in arms about this? By the way, as a group, Hispanic women are the lowest paid professionals.

Here’s the skinny on what American women really make, by ethnicity. According to the U.S. Census Data, updated, and released, in September 2010:

Rate per white male dollar:
All Races, women | 77 cents
White, non-Hispanic, women | 75 cents
Black, or African-American women | 61.9 cents
Asian women | 82.3 cents
Hispanic women | 52.9 cents

Interestingly enough, I just read a new report, apparently released on Tuesday from another government agency, that gives different figures from those above. Is it surprising that two government agencies have different figures for the same data? Of course not. Then again, they have different dates on this data so I’ll cut them a bit of slack.

The Government Accountability Office released their report after 20 years of data showing that, as of 2007, women earned 81 cents to every one dollar a male manager earned, up from 77 cents in 2000. Only problem is that this information is already three years old. Thanks for the timely data, GAO. Oh yeah, this is the report that the national and local media outlets are all hyped up over. Hey, Bloomberg, anyone bother to notice that three year old wage data is about as relevant as three year old unemployment numbers. Oh wait, it’s not relevant. Women don’t make 81 cents/dollar; we make 77 cents/dollar.

Here’s a little proof for that pudding. My book, “Career Sudoku: 9 Ways to Win the Job Search Game” was published on July 14, 2010. The statistics about this wage gap issue, including the breakdown by gender and race, are listed on page 206 and address head on how to take the bull by the horns and negotiate your way to a better paycheck.

The one piece of insight the GAO report had was what having children does to a woman’s paycheck. As Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, (Democrat, New York) said, “When working women have kids, they know it will change their lives, but they are stunned at how much it will change their paycheck.”  Just how much does it change their paycheck? According to the GAO report, mothers earned 79% compared to fathers, and their married, childless colleagues earned 83%.

Career Coach Confession: This news is not at all surprising to a Hispanic businesswoman and recovering Fortune 500 executive. I do think I’m happy I don’t have kids just yet though. (sorry, mom)

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