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#EqualPayDay: Statistics Shows Women’s Minimum Wage Hardly Budged Since The '80s

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Two decades since the inception of Equal Pay Day in 1996, women still struggle to work more to earn as much as men.

Gender disparities in wage gap are beyond just statistical figures. Equal pay advocates said that women's minimum salaries have not yet increased to a level that would equal that of men since the 1980s.

A recent annual survey conducted by the American Association of University Women showed that female employees only earn 80 cents for every dollar that men receive. This means that women have to put in 20 percent more effort or render 20 percent more time to be able to receive the same amount male employees do.

Gaps vary across different fields and industries. Female financial advisers earn about 59 percent of what their gender counterpart does based on a new analysis released by the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

There are other 107 occupations where women earn less than 95 percent of their male colleagues. The report indicated that only in hospitality jobs such as "dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers" as well as "wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products" do women outearn men.

The AAUW chart also showed which cities and states scored negatively in terms of closing in wage gaps. Seattle indicated an average of $15,700 annual wage gap between men and women. Tampa in Florida has the lowest, with $4,700 overall gap mostly on white women.

Titles For Better Pay

Vicki Shabo, vice president at National Partnership for Women and Families, explained that the 20 percent gap may be because fewer women are given titular roles. Executive-level jobs earn higher than the rank and file, which makes it difficult for the majority of employees to pay off student loans or mortgage.

Shabo further explained that men are more likely to advance to senior roles because they are less interrupted by the experience of having children. PayScale cited that women are five times more likely to leave work to take care of their families, but only 7 percent of the population is able to return to jobs after more than a year of hiatus.

Haig Nalbantian, cofounder of Mercer Workforce Sciences Institute, said the problem is not about the wage per se but rather career barriers.

"You have to make sure you're also paying attention to the career progression," Nalbantian said. "If it's not managed well and leaders are not cognizant of this drag, they're going to end up not having enough women in the pipeline."

Nalbantian is referring to common obstacles such as flexible work schedules and paid leaves, areas where most companies are either lacking or deficient.

Pay It Forward

Despite the stagnant trend, companies such as Starbucks, Apple, Intel, Salesforce, and Adobe are taking a lead toward wage equality. Recently, these companies implemented full-pay parity policies for female employees and those from the minority groups.

"If you fundamentally believe that people are the most important asset to your company, why wouldn't you seek to establish practices and programs, and have a principle that you should compensate fairly based on their contribution?" said Donna Morris, EVP for customer and employee experience at Adobe.

No matter how telling AAUW's survey is, a study by Pew Research Center, concluded that it is difficult to quantify gender discrimination in the workplace.

The center cited a 2017 survey where only 4 in 10 women reported they experienced discrimination at any point in their career. Majority of the respondents had lower wages than their male counterparts.

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