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April 20 marks the day that women’s earnings catch up to men’s earnings from last year, and then we smoke so much weed. In honor of this momentous occasion, many-a blog post has been written detailing the state of pay equity today—-the latest numbers show that women make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men—-and why we have yet to fill the gap.
* CNN lists off the ten highest-paying jobs for women, and how much higher they pay for men. Female computer programmers made a whopping 93.3 percent of what male computer programmers make; female surgeons are paid a pathetic 64.2 percent. CNN’s analysis on the wage gap:
When looking at how much women are paid vs. men in all jobs, the overall wage gap holds at 77 cents to the dollar. But that so-called wage gap doesn’t take into account differences in education, tenure and industry—-all factors which determine a worker’s pay. Even when researchers account for those factors, at least half of the gap remains unexplained, said Ariane Hegewisch, who directed the study.
Betty Spence, president of the National Association of Female Executives, an advocacy group representing women executives, says those numbers are alarming. Still, she says, gender bias may not be entirely responsible for the unaccounted-for part of the gap. Women may work fewer hours than men or may not be as aggressive in negotiating salaries, said Spence.
So, blatant sexism doesn’t account for all of the wage gap, just inherent gender differences that cause women to make less money. Hmm.
* TIME asks, “Why Do Women Still Earn Less Than Men?” Answer: Discrimination, tradition, babies, etc. Here’s a statistic that sucks: In 2008, women made 77 percent on the male dollar, but “That number drops to 68% for African-American women and 58% for Latinas.” And here’s some more:
Women earned less than men in all 20 industries and 25 occupation groups surveyed by the Census Bureau in 2007 — even in fields in which their numbers are overwhelming. Female secretaries, for instance, earn just 83.4% as much as male ones. And those who pick male-dominated fields earn less than men too: female truck drivers, for instance, earn just 76.5% of the weekly pay of their male counterparts. Perhaps the most compelling — and potentially damning — data of all to suggest that gender has an influence comes from a 2008 study in which University of Chicago sociologist Kristen Schilt and NYU economist Matthew Wiswall examined the wage trajectories of people who underwent a sex change. Their results: even when controlling for factors like education, men who transitioned to women earned, on average, 32% less after the surgery. Women who became men, on the other hand, earned 1.5% more.
The occupation where women have the highest earnings compared with men is ‘dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers’ (the female/ male earnings ratio is 111.1 percent, based on median weekly earnings in 2009 that were $400 for women, $360 for men), an occupation that ranks among the ten lowest paid occupations for men, with average earnings for both men and women well below median earnings for all workers.
* And then we smoke weed.
Photos via Photo8.com, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0