Could mandatory reporting close the gender pay gap?

The discussion surrounding the gender wage gap has gained traction in the past year. Women around the country are speaking out about unequal pay. Many employers have increased their efforts to close the gap. Others continue to pay women less than men for performing the same work.

Many workers’ rights advocates suggest the government should pass legislation to mandate the reporting of gender pay discrepancies. According to a recent study published in the Harvard Business Review, this could be just the tool to help close the gender wage gap.

Harvard: Transparency helps close the wage gap

Researchers studying the effect of transparency on wages concluded that when companies must disclose the in employees’ pay, the gap decreases. Employers that had mandated reporting saw their pay disparities shrink from 18.9 percent to 17.5 percent over five years. The control firms’ gender wage gap remained steady at 18.9 percent.

The study also suggested that mandatory reporting increased the number of women hired and the number of women promoted to senior positions.

Mandatory reporting is controversial

Despite the potential to close the gender pay gap, government-mandated reporting is not without critics. Opponents contend that it could put an unmanageable burden on companies and could decrease their profits. Others note that it could slow the growth of male employees’ wages.

What can women do to close the wage gap?

Even though women—and men—continue to speak out against the gender wage gap, government-mandated reporting will not arrive soon, if ever. Similar legislative measures have been discussed for the past five to 10 years, with no resolution. Still, it remains a prominent option for the future. Women who support mandatory reporting should contact their representatives to lobby for such legislation.

In the meantime, female employees who realize that their employer is paying them less than their male counterparts should consider their legal options and continue speaking out against gender pay disparity.

Would you be in favor of government-mandated reporting on gender wage gaps?

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