“We are becoming the men we wanted to marry,” Gloria Steinem declared in the 1970s.
A journalist and social activist, Steinem was a leading voice in the feminist movement that took off in the 1960s.
So, have women really become the men they admired?
Well, women have dramatically joined the workforce.
And they are increasingly doctors, lawyers, politicians and scientists.
But for her quote to be true today (some 45 years later), all those men would have to take a 22.5% pay cut.
For a better understanding, here are 11 fascinating and very true stats about woman at work:
1) Women Are Taking Higher Education By Storm
One of the great shifts in gender equality is taking place in education. More women graduate from high school, attend and graduate from college, and earn post-graduate degrees than men.
In 1994, 63% of female high school graduates and 61% of male high school graduates were enrolled in college the following fall, according to the Pew Research Center.
By 2012, that same number for women jumped to 71%, but remained unchanged for males, at 61%.
Some say the reason for this is because workplace barriers to women are easing, and so the benefits of a college education are more attractive to women. But it is also a possibility that more men are foregoing college due to other reasons, including disciplinary and behavioral problems in high school.
Go claim your free ResourcefulManager membership and
get 15 leadership and management resources
2) Higher They Climb, The Greater The Wage Gap
Even as women are flooding onto college campus, here’s a disappointing trend: The higher women climb in the work world, the harder it is for them to earn what men are paid.
Women in professional specialty occupations earn 72.7% of what men in the same position earn.
Women in upper level executive, administrative and managerial occupations earn even less at 72.3%.
The pay gap across all occupations is 77.5%.
3) Is There Any Place Women Earn The Same As Men?
No, unfortunately, there is no such place. But, it can be to a woman’s advantage to work in a labor union.
Women who work in unionized professions make 82% of men’s incomes.
So, while there’s still a gap, it’s much less than in professions without unions, where women make 72% of men’s incomes.
4) The Accumulative Wage Gap Is More Than The Price Of A House.
By age 65, the average working woman will have lost more than $430,000 over her working lifetime vs. men, because of the wage gap.
She could’ve bought a pretty nice house with that!
The U.S. Census Bureau says the median price of a house in January 2015 was $294,300.
5) Women Bring Home More Of The Bacon
More than ever before, women are the breadwinners in their household.
Over 40% of moms are now the sole or primary source of income in U.S. households.
Women are now the primary or co-money maker in nearly two thirds of American families and working married women bring home 44% of their family’s income.
6) More Women Are Owning Their Own Businesses
Though men still outnumber women in the business world, women continue to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.
Today, 30% of all businesses are owned and operated by women, though other research has put that number closer to 40%.
Between 1997 and 2014, the total number of businesses in the United States increased by 47%, but the number of women-owned firms increased by 68% — a rate 1 ½ times the national average.
7) Women-owned Businesses Have Generally Lower Revenues
Though there is clear growth in female-owned businesses, they tend to have lower revenue.
American Express OPEN, the small-business payment card vendor, says women-owned businesses have average annual revenues of $155,000 vs. $400,000 for a typical privately held business. That’s 61% less revenue.
Further, the more employees in a female-owned business, the greater the gap in revenue versus all similar-sized enterprises.
8) Globally, U.S. Women Not Faring So Well
When it comes to gender equality, the best places for women are in Europe. The United Nations’ Gender Inequality Index ranks countries from the best to the worst. It measures gender disparity by looking at reproductive health, empowerment, political participation and labor market participation.
In the 2013 index (the latest available), the Top 5 countries were (drumroll, please):
The Bottom 5:
So where does the great ol’ USofA sit? About a third of the way down in 47th place.
9) Women Like Their Jobs More Than Men
Looking for a loyal employee? Hire a women.
It seems women are more engaged in their work than men, which is a bit of surprise in light of the lower pay and glass-ceiling issues woman face.
A recent Gallup study showed women were 33% engaged at work, 50% not engaged, and 17% actively disengaged.
Men were 28% engaged, 53% not engaged, and 19% actively disengaged.
The folks who did this particular survey insist that 33% versus 28% is a statistically significant difference.
10) Women Are More Likely To Have An Unstable Retirement
Today, half of all women over age 75 live alone, and a variety of factors contribute to women having a much less stable retirement than men.
They make less during their working years, are less likely to have a pensioned position, have smaller 401(k)s and will spend less time in the workforce than men. Women typically have taken more part–time jobs
Add smaller Social Security checks and longer life spans and that leaves many women unprepared to support themselves in their later years.
Education on financial planning is one key way to help change this, but evening out the playing field in the workplace is also a critical step.
11) Finally … Pay Gap Issue Reaches A Fortune 100 Proxy Vote
2015 marks the first year that the gender wage issues was forced onto the proxy ballot of a Fortune 100 corporation. I’t’s a first, but that’s probably as far as it will go.
In February, Arjuna Capital, the sustainable wealth platform of Baldwin Brothers Inc., requested eBay publicly report the pay disparity between male and female employees and set goals to close the gap.
However, eBay has yet to publicly embrace the proxy vote. And don’t expect them to. Arjuna Capital has said eBay has already squashed the idea.
The eBay moves followed just days after Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette used her time on the Oscar stage to push for pay reform.
“Women deserve equal pay for equal work,” Arquette said.
Arjuna said it pushed the issue at eBay because gender diversity “is a key driver of innovation and performance, factors of particular importance to the tech industry.”
Mike T. says
Number three states there is no place women earn as much as men. What about the military? The pay is based on rank and years of service. if you have the same rank and same years of service you get the same pay no matter your gender.
Rich Henson says
That’s a good observation, Mike. You get paid in the military based on rank and years of service. But I suspect if you took the average pay for women in the military, and compared it to the average pay for men – weighting both to even out the total number – you’d find men on average are paid more because men, on average, hold higher ranks.
Brent Bates says
Rich, well then that wouldn’t be equal work. You’re comparing apples to oranges if they are a different rank.
Rich Henson says
Brent, your point is well taken. It’s good to know pay inequality is a thing of the past in the U.S. military.
Carlo Fioretti Rizzante says
Then you should have amended your article in the view of the new inside you got.
Keeby Hall says
I slightly disagree with these statistics. I don’t think minority men and women in the U.S. make as much money as Caucasian men and women in the U.S. due to racial inequalities and discrimination. Therefore, the statistics can’t be right. I don’t see the great disparity and I believe you have to break it down by race in the US to get real numbers that make sense. So, sorry I have to disagree.
Rich Henson says
Keeby, you are certainly correct that minorities generally earn less. But I am not clear on which of the statistics in this article you are referring to.
Margret Meade says
This article hits it right on the head!
Brent Bates says
Mr. Henson, I’m sorry, but this article comes across as very biased political propaganda. It is by no means an attempt to present a balanced view of this tired debate issue, nor it’s potential causes. I appreciate you providing your sources of data, surveys, and studies for each of your points. I don’t dispute that there is a difference in the average compensation for men versus women. However, having been recruiting and career coaching for many years now, I can assure you that there are many contributing variables and factors based upon societal and gender norms that cause this disparity.
Is there some level of discrimination and assumptions made based upon gender and their typical roles? Undoubtedly, yes. Is it wrong? Yes. Though, a majority are based on actual prohibitive life situations that are not conducive to the business requirements of the role. Additionally, we could dive into the natural psychological norms of men vs. women in regards to negotiation and leadership ability. Sure, there are many exceptions of strong, power women, but most just aren’t. It’s as simple as that.
Heather C says
Most just aren’t? Where did you get that statistic? Or is that your personal opinion? It’s statements like this that will keep fueling this debate. And it’s not just as simple as that. The problem with this statement lies in the inability for many men to see beyond their own egos to accept strong women. We get labeled as “B!tches”, but when men are strong and stand their ground, they are leaders. That’s double standard that just needs to stop. Sure, there are many more factors to consider. But facts don’t lie. And the research and facts are overwhelming that women are still underpaid, less respected and face more difficulty moving up into higher paid positions. I respect your “opinion”, but I also respectfully disagree.
Though there are likely some disparities due to gender, I find these arguments tiresome, because these statistics do not include legitimate factors like length of time in profession or the fact that women trend toward professions that are lower-paying (which they choose knowing they are lower paying), or even the fact that women often choose to take jobs that are less demanding in terms of hours or travel so that they can spend more time with their children while they are young, which limits their economic potential for that period of time.
Russ Delozier says
How did this article slip through the cracks? I’ve read many, if not most, of Resourceful Manager’s materials and find them helpful and informative. This article is neither. It is by far the worst one I have read and makes me want to drop my membership. Sure, I’m a guy. Go ahead and throw your stones at me for “man-splaining” (whatever that is??). However, female or male, I cannot let ignorance rule because “man-splaining” does not change that this article makes it clear that folks who believe this are not good at math or stats. Let me explain as simply as possible.
Here is an ABSOLUTE TRUTH. People with larger feet are smarter than people with smaller feet. It is true for all people groups and in all of human history (as far back as we have recorded human history). However, there’s a problem with my “stat” which makes it absolutely meaningless. Children, who have not yet had the opportunity of a complete and ongoing education, have smaller feet. Yep! I know this is mind blowing data but it is true. As a result, my “findings” above are true just like your “findings” are true.
Please RM, stop allowing things like this to slip through the cracks and I’ll continue to subscribe. Else, I’ll find my helpful information elsewhere.
Any other thinking women and men with me?
John Walston says
Russ, thanks for the comments. I’ll go back and review this post.
While you are at it, check out http://www.societyfordiversity.org/is-the-gender-pay-gap-based-on-gender/ which is a “trackback” to this article. That article talks about how pay inequity exists in a large part due to societal norms, family structure, and personal choices. Problem is, that message doesn’t fit with the current zeitgeist.
I’m with you, Russ, at least for the most part. The problem as I see it is that nearly every study done has an inherent bias. Therefore, the statistics are “cherry-picked” in order to support whatever biased conclusion desired by the study authors, and mitigating factors are ignored.
I have heard the same rhetoric since the late ’70s when I entered the post-collegiate workplace, with very little change. I agree that pay inequities were atrocious and rampant in the ’60s and into the ’70s, but the ’70s was the time when EEO laws were enacted, and soon after grew some teeth, so to speak. With the enormous changes into a litigious society over the subsequent 40 years along with the vast change in workplace atmosphere (which IS a good thing), I find it essentially impossible that pay inequity is still so endemic.
I am sure that some pay inequality still exists; I am also sure that it will never be TOTALLY eliminated unless and until societal norms and family structures change.
You are forgetting the obvious. Pay inequality can be changed immediately, without holding our breath for “ societal norms” to change, by enacting laws requiring pay equality. Why is there any resistance and reluctance to require equal pay for women and men? It benefits women, children, society as a whole, and men.
In reference to #7, what is this statistic implying – that lower revenues are due to consumers shopping elsewhere because they are aware the business is owned by a woman? And how does the consumer know they are purchasing goods/services from a woman-owned business, unless the business is advertised or promoted as woman-owned. This kind of information can be found elsewhere. I am definitely disappointed in Resourceful Manager.
Eve Krit-Anderson says
Thank you for the article. As one of your responses above stated, this is indeed a bit tiresome. When I entered the workforce at fourteen this discussion was going on. I am now sixty-four and just look at the progress in fifty years.
Not nearly enough, but at least now most women are aware of the fact that we have an issue.
But we keep discussing and with the current political climate we seem to be back sliding at an alarming pace. So keep discussing and working and striving to live a good life for yourself, your family and your country. If you are fortunate those you support now will come through for you as you age so you don’t end up living in your car or a box or still working when you are almost eighty like G—– at our Walmart.
Also, for my size I have very large feet and have been told that I am intelligent. I still have always made less than my male counterparts. The comments were almost as interesting as the article. Thank you.