In the 2002 Overdue Media comic strip the man says to the woman: "I was reading that, even in libraries,men make more than women."
Woman: " Yes, that's true."
Man:"So...when do I get my raise."
While news that women earn less than men is not new news, what does seem to be emerging is a new thinking on the issue -- women can do something about it if we would just learn to negotiate. Jory Des Jardin wrote about this in a February Post called Think negotiating for more money is petty? Hope you like your job."
The pay gap is back in the news today thanks to research by American Association of University Women that confirms what many women believe--the pay gap is alive and well and thriving in the U.S. The reality of that pay gap has been challenged in recent years by people like Dr. Warren Farrell who wrote a 2005 book Why Men Earn More. According to Publisher's Weekly,
"Why do men earn more than women? Because they deserve to, argues this contrarian challenge to feminist conventional wisdom. Men work longer hours at more dangerous and disagreeable jobs. They more readily accept night shifts, hardship postings to Alaska and entrepreneurial risks. Men get in-demand degrees in engineering, while women get degrees in French literature. Female librarians earn less than garbagemen, not because of discrimination, but because so many applicants compete for the safe, clean, comfortable, convenient, fulfilling jobs women prefer. Indeed, the author insists, statistics show that women and men with equal experience and qualifications, doing the same job, for the same hours, under the same conditions-get paid the same."
Which is why I found it fascinating that the Associated Press article by Ellen Simon in the The Washington Post stresses even with outside factors, the gap exists.
Even after controlling for hours, occupation, parenthood, and other factors known to affect earnings, the study found that one-quarter of the pay gap remains unexplained. The group said that portion of the gap is "likely due to sex discrimination."
In writing about the report in the Daily Kos, MissLaura has already received 68 comments to her post. Karichisholm was the first to comment.
I'll go and dig in on the study, but there always seems to be one factor that's left out. It seems that men are more aggressive about negotiating salary than women. I don't know what cultural norms cause that - except that maybe men are more likely to have overinflated egos - but it seems reasonable to me that there might be a 5-15% bump that comes from negotiating a better deal when you get hired.
The good news is that negotiation is a skill that with the proper training and practice can be mastered. So, where are all those negotiation coaches and where can we sign up?