Happy Equal Pay Day

The POTUS announced in the State of the Union that there still exists a wage gap between men and women.   Many have also rightly pointed to the fact that the Obama Administration ALSO has a wage gap.  Others have asserted that wage gaps exist between men and women due to life choice of bearing children.  In women’s studies classrooms, we call this the double burden.  In the next few graphs, we see there may be more to the story.  This is a comparison of apples to oranges, but actually on EVERY SINGLE IDENTIFIER women still earn less. *sigh*

A personal note before you dive into the graphs: I’m a firm believer that we determine our own destinies and make our own choices for prosperity and happiness.   I am also VERY aware of the privilege I enjoy of being a white, debatably well-educated woman from a middle class family.  And lastly, my father told me that I would probably have to work twice as hard to get half as much as my male colleagues did, but if I loved it, my work would also be my joy.  And so it is.

1. Starting in 1967, the growth of moms with children making more than their husbands has tripled.


[Source: American Progress]

2. Wage differences also exist across the country; it also isn’t really specific to a region.  Check out Georgia though- nice and DARK blue along with Cali-betcha didn’t see that coming, did ya?


[Source: New York Times]

3. But the birthrates aren’t synced.  There at least doesn’t appear to be correlation.


[Source: Kaiser]

4. What’s more, there are gaps between women and women of minority groups.  Essentially, even within the gap there are gaps. Very meta.


[Source: AAUW]

5. Education also plays a role but also isn’t the sole explanation.


[Source: New York Times]

6. Education always helps, but women are still paid less.

ed wage gap

[Source: Washington Post]

7. Alas, my long held belief that “Women can just choose another job” was also cast aside.  It would seem that while certain fields reward more than others, within those fields there’s still a difference in earnings.

industry gaps

[Source: Bureau of Labor and Industries]




  1. Dr. Monica Henson says:

    I am proud to be a female who earns the same compensation as my male counterparts in my field. A big reason why is because I learned how to negotiate well (thank you, Lumpkin School of Law at UGA), I require compensation commensurate with my education and experience (after researching it so I know precisely what that is), and I am unafraid to walk away from a job offer if the employer isn’t willing to pay me what I’m worth. If an employer were to feel that my behavior isn’t “ladylike” in seeking to be paid what I’m worth, then that is not an employer I would choose to work for. If society finds me to be a pushy broad (the more polite version of the “B” word that many label women like me with) because I expect to be paid the same as a male with similar education and experience, that’s society’s problem, not mine.

    We have to teach our girls to do these things and see themselves in this way so that women who earn what they are worth are no longer an anomaly. We also need to encourage entrepreneurial spirit in girls so that they can create their own jobs.

    • Scarlet Hawk says:

      Dr. Henson,

      You and I have discussed this topic and I cannot agree more. I’m not of the ilk to blame others for what as a culture our gender perpetuates. As I have mentioned to you before, I had the pleasure of reading the book “Why Women Don’t Ask” a few years ago. It highlighted some deeply ingrained habits I have previously practiced (and have since altered) that I think help to contribute to the challenge women face (within themselves) when it comes to negotiating things. It should also be said that men face this as well, although I know of more men that negotiate successfully than women do. I have passed this book onto other girl friends and have recommended it to many friends with daughters. Negotiation and awareness of your value in the market are essential tools for success.

      As always, thanks for your comments and for taking the time to read my post.

  2. greencracker says:

    There is no framework under which it is acceptable for a woman to work twice as hard as a man for the same money, even if she loves the job.

    Cause you know what else is lovable? A fat investment portfolio. Cash on hand for emergencies. Living debt-free. Etc.

    That negotiation business is something I know I have difficulty with too. I’m working on it.

    • Scarlet Hawk says:

      I didn’t share the personal note to indicate I find that system acceptable, nor to imply my father accepted it. I shared that as an explanation that when the going gets tough, there is more reward to one’s passion than just money. That, and Daddy didn’t believe in sugar coating much.

      The negotiation stuff is hard for everyone- men too. In the above comments I shared about a book I read that identified to me how girls are raised to believe in merit based pay versus negotiation from a very young age. It was enlightening, and helped me to see how asking for more isn’t rude, presumptuous, personal or wrong-it’s just business.

      My clients want to pay less, and I want them to pay more. When you look at everything recognizing that it requires a middle ground, it makes the process bearable and you take the counter offers less personally. This works in any negotiation; not just financial stuff.

      Best wishes to all the ladies though- kick ass, take names, and don’t hesitate to call upon me if I may help. I always go to bat for the grrls. 🙂

  3. saltycracker says:

    The POTUS would serve us better if he got concerned about the tax code. Society might be better served by not worrying about exemptions, exceptions, exclusions, shelters, rebates, who can be a spouse,etc.
    Pick a percentage (10%?) of income from $1,000 up and run with it.
    Or we can continue the endless game., which is fine by me.

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