Claire Cain Miller has written what I think is a very significant article about gender pay disparity in today’s New York Times, entitled “How to Bridge That Stubborn Pay Gap.”
She writes that:
“More than a half-century after President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, the gender pay gap is still with us. Women earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the Census Bureau. That statistic is based on the median salaries of full-time workers, not men and women doing the same jobs, but other data show that the gap occurs in a broad range of occupations. Women who are surgeons earn 71 percent of what men earn, while food preparers earn 87 percent, according to data from Claudia Goldin, a Harvard economist.”
So, she asks, “what might work to close the gap?”
Her answers are important and thought-provoking, and I will merely quote her list and recommend reviewing her excellent discussion of the all-important legal and social science studies which back up her recommendations.
“Publish Everyone’s Pay: When employers publish people’s salaries, the pay gap shrinks.
To Negotiate, or Not: Men are paid more partly because they’re much more likely to ask.
Don’t Rely on Previous Salaries: If women can lose millions over their careers because they get job offers based on pay that is already low, one way to stop the pattern is to ignore their past salaries.
Make Work Easier for Mothers: Research has found that salaries at men and women’s first jobs out of school are fairly similar. The gender pay gap widens a few years later when women start having children.
Build More Flexible Workplaces: The gap shrinks when people can work on their own schedules, as in many tech jobs and when people can easily substitute for one another, as happens among pharmacists.
Change the Law: Federal law doesn’t require most of these things, so some lawmakers are trying other tactics.”