Tag Archives: workplace

Why I Don’t Believe That Women Need a Pay Raise

11 May

This is probably going to be controversial. No, I’m not an anti-feminist. I just believe that [like usual, on one side or the other] there is a very misinformed mass regarding the issue.

My goal is for this to be a pretty brief post, mostly because I started out just wanting to write a Facebook status about it but realizing it’d be a little too long. So I’m going to try to be as concise as possible.

First of all, lets address what we know to be fact, which is that according to popular statistics, women in the US make 77 cents to every dollar that men make. Is this true? Yes. HOWEVER it is grossly misinterpreted. People read this fact and think “Wait- is that legal? So employers can pay women less just because they’re women?” Well, no. The statistic is based off of average annual income for male vs. female. So, for illustrative purposes, if the average middle-aged male’s salary is $100,000; the average middle-aged female’s salary is $77,000. What is not taken into account is the difference in jobs themselves. This does not mean that a man and a woman can have the exact same position and be paid differently, it means that men and women are landing in different positions.

Why is this? Well for starters, think about the average career path pursued by women, compared to their male counterparts. Women typically work more in service-related fields, where as the men shoot for STEM fields which, statistically, pay higher salaries. Another difference is that even if a woman and a man are both in the same general field, the man is more likely to push for promotions, climb the corporate ladder, etc.; where a woman is less likely to do those things due to focusing on starting a family, being less aggressive than the men in the office, etc.

So does this mean that we should just accept this difference in careers and call it a day? Absolutely not. There needs to be more women in higher ranks of companies, and more women being promoted to leadership positions. However, being a woman in the IT field myself and having attended countless seminars and conferences on how to succeed in a male-dominated world, I assure you that a simple number on a paycheck is not going to solve the problem. I could write an entire blog post about the issues that women have in male-dominated work environments, but literally all of the things that hold women back from advancing at work come back to their own self-confidence. Raising your hand and speaking up in a meeting, applying for a promotion, negotiating a higher pay– these are all things that men do naturally in the workplace, but women have a hard time with. Did you know, that if a new job listing is posted with 10 criteria listed as requirements, the average male will apply for the job if he fills at least half of the criteria, where as the average female will only apply when she fills ALL of them? Do you realize how many more opportunities this gives men? And it’s not because the men are sexist a-holes, and not because there is a difference in pay depending on if you take the job as a male or a female, it’s because the men are confident enough in their own abilities to take that step to push their career further, and women tend to be more cautious.

Raising a salary, or allowing people to demand that their employer hand over pay wage information, is not going to solve the underlying problem. Not even close. Besides, did you ever think that maybe the average woman works a lower paying job than the average man because she wants to? I know that this IS going to come off as anti-feminist, but honestly, some women are more than happy to allow their husband to be the primary household provider. Some women are more than happy to sacrifice a CEO-path career to get to stay at home with their children. Some women would much rather balance home life and hobbies than work full time, if they have the opportunity.

If you compare my mom’s annual salary with my dad’s annual salary, you will see that my mom makes less money. So, woman of the house has a substantially lower average salary than man of the house. Does that mean that my mom is discriminated against at work for being a woman? Does that mean her pay should be raised to equal my dad’s? No. It means that she works fewer hours, in a job that is less demanding of her. It means that she, as a woman, and as a mother, and as a daughter, balances her job with managing a household, caring for her mother, and being a stay-at-home mom for her children. There is SO much more to the picture than simply comparing numbers.

So. My point is. This issue needs to stop being over-politicized. If a woman is financially able and prefers to work a lower paying (which probably equates to lower stress) job, more power to her. And if a woman wants to focus on her career and eventually become CEO of a company, more power to her too! And if a woman is struggling with advancing her career, then we need to learn how to support her the correct way, by providing her with the tools to empower herself in the work place, not just legally complicate the issue with wage stipulations and expect job satisfaction and fulfillment to magically come with it.

Anyway this is way longer than I was hoping and I’m super tired, so that’s my opinion thank you and goodnight.