Economy

Women Are 132 Years Behind Men in Pay

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The recent Close the Gender Gap to Unlock Productivity Gains report from Moody’s Analytics showed, among other things, that, worldwide, women’s pay could take 132 years to catch men’s at the current rate of advancement. The gap was defined as equality in “economic, educational, health and political dimensions.” (Click here to see the worst-paying jobs for women.)

The report argues that closing the gap would increase global economic activity by $7 trillion.

Women do not use their work capabilities to their full extent, largely because they are forced into work below their skill sets. Put another way, women are “overqualified” for their jobs. The largest cap is at the top of the work pyramid, which is in the executive suite. The spread is lower among support staff and women with professional backgrounds.

Female managers are paid less than 90% of males in the same jobs, based on data from the United States, Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom. The gap may be worse in the United States, where women make about 80% of what men do for comparable jobs.

Ultimately, the factors that hurt women most are the burdens of family care and the fact that they do not have the work networks that men do.


What the report does not say is how the problem can be solved. A Spencer Stuart study showed the problem is baked into corporate cultures. In France, only 46% of corporate boards have at least one female member, which is the highest level of any developed country. The figure for the United States is 30%. At the bottom of the ladder, Chile’s figure is only 11%.

Perhaps the only way to change the situation is legal. California has a law that forces companies to have female board members. Since it was enacted, the number of women on boards has surged.

However, female board membership is only a tiny part of the problem. Mandating job gender equality across the workforce will be much harder.

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