Pay Gap

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Gender pay gap myths
Women, Education and Earning Power
Women creating pay gap?
You've Got a Long Way to Go, Baby
Gender Equality

Forum: Gender pay gap myths


A headline by Reuters on Nov. 7 was startling and certainly newsworthy: "Female U.S. corporate directors out-earn men: study." Yet, one full week later there was no newspaper coverage of this politically incorrect report, though the study was based on 25,000 corporate directors at 3,200 companies with female directors being an 8-to-1 minority.

The Reuters report stands in stark contrast to the politically correct — but empirically incorrect — Associated Press story that blanketed the nation on April 23, 2007. The AP story was based on the advocacy press release of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) that claimed after one year out of college women earned 20 percent less than men and that the gap widened 10 years later to 31 percent. The AP did not tell the nation that statistical analyses accompanying the press release reduced the two purported gaps to 5 percent and 12 percent respectively (www.aauw.org/research/upload/behindPayGap.pdf ).

The comparison of the Reuters and AP stories leads us to four important questions. First, can we have full confidence in Associated Press stories? The answer clearly is no. Second, is there really a gender pay gap?

This answer here also appears to be no based on research published in America's most prestigious peer-reviewed Economics journal. Economist June O'Neill, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, wrote an article titled "The gender gap in wages, circa 2000" in the May 2003 issue of the American Economic Review. By factoring in some of the many work-related differences between men and women such as hours worked per week, danger and travel requirements of the job, years of education, years in the field, and many other characteristics, she found the purported pay gap virtually vanished.

Further, a recent New York Times story titled "For young earners in big city, a gap in women's favor" portends a pay gap favoring women immediately following educational completion.

Third, is there really a boy and man crisis in education? Here the answer is an unqualified yes. While there are many "boy crisis deniers" in the media, they blindly follow ideology rather than empirical research reality. The basic facts of the boy and man crisis in education have been widely disseminated. Briefly, they are: Boys perform less well in school at all levels than do girls and have higher school drop-out rates especially in high school. In higher education, men at best constitute 40 percent of the undergraduate student population and university graduates, 25 percent of psychology graduate students, and 20 percent of veterinary medicine students. And, the list goes on with comparisons predominantly favoring women.

Fourth and finally, what does this all mean for the 2008 elections?

Candidates who seek the "women's vote" by continuing to promote the now discredited myths that women are yet again victimized in pay and education. What America needs, however, are credible candidates who can face empirical research reality and take action that is fair both to males and females.

Even if we call the wage gap controversy a draw in 2007, the boy and man crisis in education unequivocally portends an overwhelming gender wage gap favoring women in the immediate and continuing future. The Reuters report was on the money and should be viewed as the tip of the iceberg.

If candidates want the "male vote" — as well as the votes of females who wish to have men intimately involved in their lives — they will ignore P.C. Ideology, face squarely empirical research reality, and propose solutions favoring gender equality.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com/article/20071118/COMMENTARY/111180005/1012, Gordon E. Finley, Professor of psychology at Florida International University. His faculty Web site is: psych.fiu.edu/Faculty&StaffPages2/Finley/Finley.htm

Women, Education and Earning Power


Here's something you may not have heard before: Women are experiencing a pay increase, albeit a slow one. From 1979 to 2005, women's earnings as a percentage of men's rose a mere 19 percent, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That's a startling figure, considering how many women are in today's workforce. Close to 69 percent of women headed to work alongside 83 percent of men in the United States in 2005, according to compiled data by the Current Population Survey, U.S. Department of Labor and the BLS.

But even so, men, on average, earned at least $10,000 more than their female counterparts in 2005 -- this from U.S. Census Bureau reports. So why the pay gap? And, more importantly, what can women do to make up this inconsistency in pay?

Some say the solution is simple: Get educated, learn new skills, impress the boss and you're sure to add a few digits to your salary. When it comes to education, women are, in fact, the stronger sex. In autumn 2005 more than six million women enrolled in four-year institutions, compared with 4.7 million men, according to the most recent numbers from the National Center for Education Statistics. NCES data also shows that women outnumbered men in terms of earning associate, bachelor's and master's degrees.

The return on that education investment is high. Women who graduated from four-year colleges earned about 60 percent more than women with only a high school diploma in 2005, per the BLS. So if education is one step toward equalizing the gender earning disparity, where should women start if they want to get ahead?

Finding your focus

"The first thing you have to do is figure out what your values are, and understand that the ways to higher pay are about trade-offs," says Warren Farrell, the author of "Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap and What Women Can Do About It". "The road to higher pay is a toll road. The discovery is finding out which tolls are worth it and which aren't."

When it comes to using education to increase earning power, Farrell says it's all about choosing the right subspecialty -- a niche market within an in-demand profession. As an example, Farrell points to visiting nurses, such as those who work for hospices. Even though the nursing profession is in high demand, nurses who are willing to travel can earn twice as much as traditional nurses.

Farrell says the field, rather than the degree, is often a better predictor of higher pay. Take recent data from the Center for Education Statistics, for example, which shows that in 2000, graduates with bachelor's degrees in engineering earned the most (close to $50,000) one year after graduation, while those with education degrees earned the least (less than $30,000) one year after graduation.

"A scientist is going to make a lot more than a language major," he says. "More important is that the choice of field not only predicts pay, but also the

Caring for your career

That sort of practical education planning buoyed Teri Fagan's paycheck. Fagan was working in accounting making $8.60 an hour when she and her family fell on hard times. A friend encouraged her to go to nursing school, but Fagan struggled on her own for four years before realizing additional education could improve her financial situation. The years she spent in school earning her associate degree were "scary," she admits, because "I was in the program full time, and the last year I was there, I only grossed $5,000."

The notion of having a better salary that would afford her a better life pushed Fagan through the program. And 2005 statistics from the BLS back up Fagan's goal: Women who held at least an associate degree earned 80 percent more than women who didn't pursue higher education.

"They asked us in class why we wanted to be nurses, and many people said they wanted to give and be compassionate. I'm afraid I was all about money," Fagan says. "But, I was intrigued by the thought of nursing. It's intellectually stimulating, and it has a lot to do with accounting in terms of math and judgment."

After earning her degree, she landed a job at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C., one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation. Since then, her salary has increased threefold.

Maintaining versatility

Frances Altman had a good job and an even better salary, but she returned to her alma mater, Roosevelt University in Chicago, to earn her master's degree in communications because she felt it would help her keep pace with her peers in public relations. Altman isn't the only woman to have felt this way -- in 2005 more than 300,000 women aimed to increase their paychecks by enrolling in graduate programs, according to the latest stats from the NCES.

"I was running into more and more people who had [postgraduate] degrees," Altman says. "It became apparent that the additional consolidation of my education would be beneficial."

Though Altman had been employed with her company for 19 years, she was downsized. She earned her graduate degree, and eventually landed her current position as a public relations specialist for Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Business.

It was her degree, says Altman, that helped her maintain versatility in a continuously fluctuating job market. "You have to be watching for opportunities to reinvent yourself all the time," she says. "Maybe it seems public relations doesn't exactly fit in one area, and yet I began working in PR in education. I'm using all the same techniques, but now I'm working with alumni and teachers."

Knowledge is business power

If Erika Mangrum hadn't pursued an M.B.A., she may never have opened her own business.

Like Altman, Mangrum went back to school because she felt she needed to keep up with her colleagues. Although she had no intention of leaving her corporate job, her mock business plan, created for a school assignment, got her thinking.

Mangrum worked with one of her marketing professors for two years to create a business plan for a spa. As a result, she opened the first location of her Iatria Spa and Health Center in Raleigh, N.C. Seven years later, she opened three additional locations throughout the state.

Mangrum admits that she could have never been able to accomplish that at the large organization where she worked prior to her return to school.

"[After receiving my M.B.A.,] I had more self-confidence because I had a more well-rounded set of skills. I had a better network," she says.

There's no question that education directly increased Mangrum's earning power and professional freedom. In fact, she hopes to spread the wealth of her knowledge through an online marketing course at the University of California at Irvine that she began teaching in April 2006. "This enables me to give back, and that makes me happy," she says. "I'm more rewarded doing what I do now, because I can effect change better."

Closing the pay gap

Getting an advanced degree doesn't mean the boss will automatically respond with a raise. But the combination of education and experience can translate into better opportunities for women -- and better chances of closing the earning gap between men and women. Of today's workforce, nearly 33 percent of women ages 25 to 64 had academic experience under their belt in 2004, compared to 11 percent in 1970, according to the BLS.

"The career has something to do with it, there's no question that's part of the deal," says Marsha Firestone, president of the Women Presidents' Organization in New York, a nonprofit membership organization of 1,000 successful female entrepreneurs who own and run multimillion-dollar businesses. "But education is key for opening doors."
Source: Jennifer Merritt, encarta.msn.com/encnet/Departments/eLearning/?article=womeneducationearning07

Women creating pay gap?


A new study finds female professionals lower their bills to maintain client relationships.

Are women helping create their own pay disparity? A new study suggests that may be the case.

Female professionals often charge less than their male counterparts for the same work, preferring a strong client relationship to higher pay, according to a study to be released this week at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management.

"Women view their pricing of a particular service as just one instance in a relationship where there will be many other services and many other pricing opportunities, as opposed to 'I need to make X profit on this transaction here,"' said Mary Gilly, a marketing professor at the University of California, Irvine, and a co-author of the study.

Analyzing the pricing patterns of 536 veterinarians, the study found female vets charged needier clients less than more affluent clients, while male vets set their prices regardless of a client's situation.

The widow discount?

The female veterinarians -- about one-third of the total group -- adjusted their prices because they cared more about their relationships with their customers than did the men, the study said.

The vets were asked to respond to a hypothetical scenario involving a 12-year-old dog with advanced kidney failure. The vets could offer treatment options to the hypothetical client, described either as a "young professional" or an "elderly widow." The female vets tended to charge the widow less.

In larger veterinary practices, however, female veterinarians charged higher prices, as they took into consideration the needs of their co-workers as well, the study said.

"Women ... take into consideration their customers, and they take into consideration their associates," Gilly said.

"For women, their relationships with customers matter, their relationships with people they work with matter, and it doesn't seem to matter for men," she said. "Men just price the same, regardless."

Nice matters

Separate research in 2003 found female mortgage lenders made $575 less per loan than their male counterparts. That study suggested women brokers were more concerned about establishing good relationships and being nice than men.

According to U.S. government statistics, overall, working women earn roughly 80 cents for every dollar a man makes.

The Academy of Management, a research and teaching organization, has nearly 17,000 members worldwide. The study will be presented at the group's annual meeting.
Source: articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/ConsumerActionGuide/WomenCreatingPayGap.aspx

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