Today is Equal Pay Day. President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation naming today as Equal Pay Day. However, it is not a day to celebrate. The United States has one of the largest Gender Gaps of any industrialized nation in the world. Even our celebrated national women’s soccer team, despite several Olympic gold medal performances and several World Cup Championships is experiencing the Gender Gap in the way they are compensated. They have filed a law suit to fight their case.
NEW YORK CITY
New York City has just admitted it’s contribution to the Gender Gap. Women employed by the city of New York earn 18% less than their male counterparts. The figures for all employment in the city, not just city workers, when broken out by race tell a story hard to accept or understand:
– White women earn $.84 when compared to men; the national figure is $.78
– African American women earn $.55 for every dollar earned by men; nationally
it is $.63
– Hispanic women earn the lowest, only $.46 compared to men; national is $.54
– Asian women earn only $.63 compared to men; nationally it is $.90
The averages for African American women, Hispanic women and Asian women are all far worse than the national average for all women and within each segment.
The city of New York recognizes it’s deficiency in this area. Azi Khalli, executive director of Mayor de Blasio’s Commission on Gender Equality made the following statement:
” Despite significant progress, the insidious and persistent wage gap among male and female members of our workforce continues. We recognize that this problem demands our attention.”
The First Step
The first step in ending the Gender Gap is an admission that a problem exists. The de Blasio team has publicly stated there is a problem, and importantly have indicated a willingness to find a solution. With such a wide gap as 18% the solution will clearly take time. Anyone who has managed a company understands the challenge involved in rectifying the problem while maintaining a fairness to all the employees. My hope is that the de Blasio team begins an immediate fix to the situation. They have indicated they are examining the process whereby city employee wages are set.
New York state is the best performing state in the country re: the Gender Gap. If New York City reaches state averages in the next 18 months we will see a great improvement.
President Obama also addressed the issue. “The pay gap between men and women offends our values as Americans, and as long as it exists, our businesses, our communities, and our Nation will suffer the consequences.” While the statement by president Obama is appreciated the solution lies with the business community and not with politicians. I think we have all learned from experience that politicians are useless when it comes to actually doing something.
The problem becomes more acute when the fact that women in the city of New York earn $5.8 Billion less each year than men is added to the discussion. $5.8 Billion less than for no other reason than their sex. Remember, the Gender Gap increases the more education a woman has achieved. And the average Head of Household in the USA is now a woman. Thus as women grow in their roles in business and society the Gender Gap widens.
April 12 is “Equal Pay Day”. I ask each of you who reads this blog as well as others I have written, all of which can be found at “theoryyou.com” to raise this issue at your place of business. In particular, I’m asking both men and women to raise the issue. A unified voice is strongest.
It’s time to close the Gender Gap!