September 20, 2005 6:06 pm
When my wife and I started working, we had post-graduate degrees from the same university, similar GPAs, and had specialized in the same area. We accepted job offers at the same company for the same position.
Yet, my starting salary was five thousand dollars higher.
At first, we tried to rationalize the difference. Perhaps I had more prior work experience (I didn’t). Or I had taken more relevant courses in college (nope). The reality was that we had unwittingly encountered the most pernicious form of discrimination in corporate America: that of wage discrimination by gender.
According to the US Census Bureau, women make 75.5 cents for every dollar earned by men.
Contrary to what the right-wing, free-market fundamentalist pundits may claim, the problem is not going away.
Professor Lips debunks the usual rationalizations of the gender wage gap. Her concluding remarks are worth quoting:
One by one, employers must be convinced to re-examine assumptions that unwittingly place higher value on the type of work men do than on the type of work women do. The most important step in closing the wage gap is for all of us to give up the notion that, to be paid fairly, a woman must “make it in a man’s world.” [link]
Is there any good news in sight? Only anecdotally. The prize money for male and female tennis players at the French Open will now be the same, leaving Wimbledon as the only Grand Slam with a gender wage gap [via feministing].
And my wife’s salary is now higher than mine.