Yahoo Finance: Why Has the Gender Wage Gap Remained Stagnant for Two Decades?
April 14. 2023
“Pay secrecy keeps workers in the dark about pay disparities and prevents them from asking for the wages they deserve,” Coleman said. “Having access to this information is important because it not only makes workers aware of the data, but also gives them a tool to negotiate for better pay. It’s also important that employees feel comfortable discussing their wages with each other. Rules or norms that prohibit the discussion of compensation often create pay gaps.”
Occupational segregation is another factor contributing to the gender wage gap.
“Women and people of color are overrepresented in lower-paying roles and industries because their work is not valued as highly,” Coleman said. “These kinds of roles are often subject to unfair labor practices like wage theft, which exacerbates the problem.”
An increase in the minimum wage is a good place to start, she said.
“Many states follow federal minimum wage law, which allows employers to pay tipped workers a subminimum wage of just $2.13 per hour before tips — and only seven states require employers to pay tipped workers the full minimum wage, before tips,” Coleman said. “This forces many tipped workers, the majority of whom are women, to tolerate customer abuse to make ends meet with tips. The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour since 2009, and only 14 states and D.C. have a minimum wage of at least $12 per hour.”
Ensuring that parents and caretakers don’t face job discrimination and making paid family and medical leave available to all workers also will help close the gender wage gap.
“The lifetime earnings of mothers and other family caregivers decrease when they are pushed out of jobs for any period of time because of discrimination, lack of workplace accommodations or a lack of job-protected and paid family and medical or sick leave,” Coleman said.
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