59¢ on the Dollar
I sat at a women’s networking luncheon this past week listening to each women as she introduced herself and her business. A young intern from a local newspaper interrupted the conversation to poll the table on this question: Have you read the Sheryl Sandberg’s recent book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.
I was the only woman at my table to raise my hand. As a matter of fact, I’m fresh off my read of the book and while I did not agree with everything Sandberg offered up, I believe she sparked a dialogue that we desperately need right now.
One of my table mates asked me what I liked about the book. 77¢ on the dollar is what I didn’t like I blurted out. (So much for the subtle approach.)
Admittedly, I’ve been under a rock and not plugged into the pathetic pay gap between men and women in the U.S. until Sandberg addressed it in her book. I mean I knew a pay gap still existed, but I felt it only existed for me because I hate negotiating salary so much. (Read how to improve your negotiation skills here. )
As we continued to discuss the issue, another woman announced she still owned the pin from the ‘70s she wore then, which said ’59¢’, as in 59¢ on the dollar.
Wow. 30+ years later we managed to climb 18¢. That’s approximately .5¢ a decade. Um…that sucks.
Further, Christina Hufffington writes,
The gap is even worse for African-American and Latina women — and according to a new study done by the National Partnership For Women And Families, the gender-based wage gap exists in every state and in the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas.
If the gap was eliminated in Seattle, the metropolitan area with the worst wage discrepancy, the study showed, women would be able to afford 2.3 year’s more worth of food. In New York City, women could afford seven more months rent (for those of you who live in New York, you know how huge that is). In Austin, a woman could afford 2,369 additional gallons of gas.
The situation is especially dire for the more than 15.1 million families where the woman is the breadwinner. Thirty-one percent of these families fall below the poverty line.
On behalf of your sister, your niece, your daughter, and women everywhere, lets refocus our attention on this issue. Learn how by reading Dr. Martha Burk’s book, Your Voice, Your Vote: The Savvy Women’s Guide to Power, Politics, and the Change We Need.