Today is Equal Pay Day — the day in 2009 that marks how long women had to work this year before catching up to what a man in the same position, with the same qualifications, earned in 2008. I’m not slamming my job in particular, I have an enlightened employer who pays well for talent and I daresay I make more than men in my same role do elsewhere.
But I am a rarity in the working world, even in traditionally female-dominated HR.
Most women earn $0.78 for every $1 a man makes. Over a 40-50 year working career that adds up to a great deal of money. Let’s do some math: A man starts out at 20 yrs old with a college degree earning $30,000/yr. We’ll be generous and presume his earnings increase 5%/yr, by the time he retires (at 60) he’ll be earning about $201k/year. A woman with the same background starts at $23,400. Presuming she also earns a 5% increase each year (and that is a BIG presumtion) will retire at 60 earning just under $157k — $44,000 a year less than her counterpart. Over their lifetime, he will have earned $1,856,192 and she will have earned $1,447,829 all because of gender.
Paying women less hurts more than just them — it hurts their families. It hurts the economy. It hurts our society. Isn’t it time we got past gender discrimination and started taking care of our own?