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The Wage Gap for Women. Still Big After All These Years.

The Grand Canyon with the river at the bottom forming a dollar sign

We’re nearing the end of 2020 (finally!) but you would never know it by the glaring gap between men’s and women’s salaries that still exists 48 years after the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was passed to the state legislatures for ratification. Our new Talent Insights Report finds that the average median salary for men is 10.7% higher—and up to 19.5% higher depending on role and geography.

Here, let’s dig into some of the inequalities women face in the workplace, and then be sure to request your copy of the report. The more we understand about the playing field, the better chance we have of leveling it. (And If you haven’t yet seen Mrs. America on Hulu, check it out to follow the ERA journey, which is still ongoing. Insert surprised face here.) 

How Did We Get Here?

Fast Company has a really insightful look into the history of the gender gap. They point out that when women first began to come into the workplace, they were encouraged to do so-called “pink collar” jobs like teaching, nursing, and cleaning—roles that are lower paying than ones more typically filled by men. And then, of course, women are often the primary caregivers, leading to what’s known as the “motherhood penalty.” Women may drop out of the workforce because their lower pay can’t justify childcare costs, and if they do return, they’re often passed up for raises or promotions because they’re seen as not fully committed. 

According to the latest stats from the U.S. Census Bureau, a woman loses $9,766 a year due to gender inequality.


The Pandemic Is Making Everything Worse

Between the high unemployment rate, businesses adapting to fully digital operations, and people rethinking their careers, the workplace has been turned upside down since the coronavirus appeared. And for women, the shakeup is even more serious.

According to a Boston Consulting Group study of five advanced economies, including the United States, working moms are now responsible for 15 more hours every week than working dads on childcare and household chores. That gap was always there but has widened considerably since the pandemic began.

In addition, women have lost more jobs than men in the past seven months. And the longer women are out of work, the harder it is to close the gap once they return.

Time to Get Creative

It’s long been lamented that women in creative fields make significantly less than men. (Indeed, our own Talent Insights Report found that men in this field made 15.6% more than their female counterparts.) Emily Nhaissi, co-founder and CEO of digital design agency Craft & Root, wonders why only 11% of creative directors worldwide are female when women make up 85% of purchase decisions. 


According to a recent survey of the Young Creative Council, 70% of young female creatives work in a 75% male-dominated environment. This means that women new to the industry don’t see themselves reflected and don’t have mentors that understand their experience. Making them more likely to leave—and continuing the whole cycle. 

#MeToo Is Not Over

And according to March 2020 findings from the National Partnership for Women and Families, sexual harassment can affect women’s job choices directly and indirectly, which can widen the gender pay gap. Women who have been sexually harassed are 6.5 times more likely to change jobs, often to one that’s lower paying or lower quality. 


Know More. Say More. Do More.

Why are we talking about the gender pay gap? Because these are more than statistics. These are real women and their real lives. And if we don’t make noise about it, nothing will change.

Our new report details some ways that we are making a difference—like partnering with the Professional Diversity Network (PDN), a recruiting platform that pairs job seekers with employers who are serious about building a diverse workforce, offering free Aquent Gymnasium classes to help women prepare for new, hopefully, higher paying opportunities, and creating Vitamin T’s Book, which mitigates gender bias in recruiting candidates by providing portfolio results based on objective, rather than subjective, criteria.

Find out about all this—and the other major stories of the year—request your copy of the 2020 Talent Insights Report today.

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