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Report: Women's gender gap in pay continues

September 28, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Equal pay for equal work: a mantra that has been part of the American narrative for decades. A report released Tuesday in Washington, D.C., shows that although a woman's place in the workplace has improved in the last few years, closing the wage gap still has a long way to go.

"Women are stuck. Despite decades of efforts to create opportunities for advancement, deep inequities persist," said Ilene Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst Inc.

Exhibit A: the pay gap. According to a new report by the Government Accountability Office, it narrowed by just 2 cents from 2000 to 2007, with female managers now earning 81 cents for every dollar earned by their male manager counterparts. That's compared to 79 cents before 2000.

"Even though there's a bright spot in that more women are gaining education, we are closing the education gap, but we're not closing the pay gap," said Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).

While having children contributes somewhat to this discrepancy, childless women still make less than men, and researchers can't figure out exactly why.

"Women are major contributors to the economy," said Ellen Galinsky, president of Families and Work Institute. "Prejudices that exist are based on ideas that we had from another time another time, another kind of economy, another type of family life, that don't exist today."

The report also finds women have made slow progress moving into management. It says that as of 2007, women accounted for about 40 percent of managers in the U.S. workforce. In 2000, females held 39 percent of management positions.

"Until women achieve parity and pay in business leadership roles, they will be marginalized in every arena," said Lang.

Also, according to the report, women in senior management positions are more likely to lose their jobs during the recession than men who hold similar positions.

But despite that, experts say women will soon outnumber men in the workforce for the first time ever.


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