Gender Gap Closing, But Is It Permanent?
Near the end of 2013 around the middle of December, a new study was released that showed positive signs for those worried about the gender gap in employment. KOMOnews.com reported
on the study, its implications, and potential concerns. According to the study, gender equality efforts are making significant advances, but there is clearly a lot of work to be done.
What is Progress?
Interestingly, even though the study shows that 75 percent of women think there needs to be greater gender equality in the workplace, women make up nearly half of the workforce. This
means that there must be more to progressing workplace equality than just presence in the workforce. According to the study, nearly 36 percent of women report no interest in becoming a
boss or manager. So, progress must be more than getting women beyond the “glass ceiling.” Clearly, progress has many aspects, but pay may be the most significant as it affects women of
all ages and employment levels.
The pay gap between men and women under the age of 32 is down to just 7 percent. One of the reasons for this significant improvement, the gap was last estimated to be about 25 percent across
all age groups, is a rapidly growing number of women with college education. In the 32 and under age group, there are currently more women with bachelor degrees in the workforce than
men. Additionally, only 15 percent of the women surveyed said they had suffered gender discrimination in the workplace. This number is not a small has it should be considering how
long the country has had gender non-discrimination laws, but it is definitely progress. Furthermore, the study reported there are more women than ever in high positions both in
government and business. The increase in women at these higher levels gives hope to others. It may also lead to stronger support networks for women working their way up and reduce biases
and losses associated with working mothers.
Work In Progress
As the 15 percent of women who reported gender based discrimination in their workplace indicates, discrimination and some vestiges of work being a “man’s world” remain. And despite
narrowing the pay gap for younger women and more women making it to higher levels in business and government, the pay gap is still expected to increase during and after a person’s
mid-30s because of time taken off or reduced schedules due to family obligations. Women still tend to quit work or take greater time away from work for family responsibilities, which slows
income growth and advancement opportunities. So while employers are prohibited from discriminating based on gender and are making efforts to create a more diverse workforce at all
levels, gender equality efforts still appear to be necessary.
If you believe you have been the victim of gender discrimination in the workplace, HKM employment attorneys may be able to help.