“Equal pay for equal work” is a mantra women’s rights advocates, and others focused on gender-based pay parity, have been chanting for decades. Thanks to their powers of persuasion and subsequent legal as well as socio-economic-political influences, great strides have been made. While it is illegal to pay women less than men for the same job, in most developed nations the gap persists and in many countries, has not reduced in the past decade.

Worldwide, women in general still earn significantly less than men. According to Accenture’s report, Getting to Equal 2017 Closing the Gender Pay Gap, among the employed, a woman earns only $100 for every $140 earned by a man. Dig a little deeper and another more dramatic hidden pay gap emerges—because of their under-representation in the workforce, due in part to the fact that women perform the majority of the unpaid work (such as housekeeping and child care), in effect women as a worldwide group earn only $100 for every $258 earned by a man.

Escalating the gender pay gap closure

While these are alarming statistics, the good news is that―with the right focus―this gap could be closed much more quickly than previously thought possible. In fact, female college students graduating in 2020 could see the gap close by 35% by 2030, literally shaving decades off of projections if nothing is done to accelerate the process (2080 in developed markets, 2166 in developing markets).

What’s the key? It turns out that the following three factors―or equalizers―can dramatically boost the closure of the gender pay gap, if women, their employers, and society’s institutions take the right steps:

  • Digital fluency―the extent to which a woman is comfortable with and uses digital technology to connect with others, learn, and work
  • Career strategy―how proactive a woman is in aiming high and taking advantage of opportunities and behaviors that can boost her earning power
  • Technology immersion―a woman’s willingness to embrace technology innovation and skill-building

In an environment in which women are often better educated than their male counterparts, and in which opportunities for employment are expanding, it is disheartening and discouraging that the gender pay gap continues to hold women back from achieving equal earning power to men. Not only that, many young women coming out of college either don’t believe a gender pay gap still exists, or they expect it to close within the next twenty years―all on its own. Unfortunately, if they don’t take the necessary steps, that pay gap could continue for decades more.

The gender pay gap is everyone’s responsibility

But we can’t lay this all on women. Closing the gender pay gap is a group effort. Women, their employers, and society all play a role in addressing the factors that can help close it faster. In my next post of this three-part series, I’ll delve into how the threeequalizers can make a difference. Understanding them opens the door to everyone taking the right steps toward ensuring gender pay parity.

For more information on closing the gender pay gap, please see:

Getting to Equal 2017 Closing the Gender Pay Gap

 

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