Your gender or sex has very little impact on your job performance. As a woman, you can excel in essentially all the same roles, including those usually occupied by men. Unfortunately, not all employers treat women as the competent, capable employees that they are.
It is common for women to face an uphill struggle when it comes to receiving equal treatment at work. Nowhere is this more obvious than when it comes to pay. Even when women move into more prestigious positions or break into male-dominated professions, they often find that they earn less than what their male co-workers earn.
Is the sex-based pay gap still an issue for professional women?
Federal data shows that the pay gap persists
While women have made incredible advances in accessing professional success, they usually don’t earn a paycheck equal to what their male co-workers receive. In fact, there is federal research showing they often earn far less.
Across all professions, races and ages, women earned 82 cents on the dollar when compared with men. Essentially, a woman with the same work history and job skills will make only fourth-fifths of what a man with the same professional background would earn.
Why does the pay gap persist?
Despite federal laws requiring equal pay for equal work, women still make less than their male counterparts. One of the reasons is that employers consider prior employment records, like your pay history, when deciding what to pay you. If your former employer paid you less because you were a woman, that means you will make less when you take a new job too.
Additionally, sexism in how management and human resources perceive women, their personalities and their work performance can make it harder for them to get pay raises. Finally, companies often have rules in their employee handbooks that claim their workers can’t discuss their wages.
When women don’t know how little they make compared to their male colleagues, they may not understand that they have been denied a fair and equal wage. For many women, the first place to start when considering whether or pay is fair and equal to her co-workers is to find out what other people in the same position earn for their work.
Knowing your rights, including your right to equal pay when compared with what men earn for the same work can help you stand up for yourself when your employer violates your rights.