Women can’t lean in to fix structural pay gaps 

In the United States, women are encouraged to be part of the solution. crouch downnegotiating a higher starting salary, putting your hand up for a project, and being told to write emails without too many exclamation marks.

But removing the “just check in” language from emails does not address the underlying systemic causes of gender inequality in the workplace.It’s not time for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Recently warned that gender equality is 300 years away.

Not when gender inequality at work remains a global issue.from sexual harassment glass ceiling and sticky floor, women face structural barriers to promotion.And not when we can see clearly The future of work is sexist.

Women cannot lean back, move, or move up when they are consistently and persistently paid less than men. In fact, equal pay 23 years into the new millennium On that day, women have to work until March 14th. On average, a white woman earns 79 cents for every dollar a man makes, and the difference is even. great for women of color.

If we follow the mantra Lean, women have to solve the pay gap by asserting themselves. Barriers cannot be modified.

Key among them is that the wage gap is largely driven by occupational gender segregation. Male-dominated occupations typically pay more than female-dominated fields, even if they require the same level of education and skills. Women make up about half (47%) of the labor force, but about two-thirds of workers are in low-paying jobs.

And even where women enter traditionally male-dominated fields, they tend to enter socially less valued and therefore undercompensated subfields. This reflects the historical underrepresentation of labor traditionally carried out by women.

For example, about half of all medical graduates are women, Overrated in pediatrics (72%) and obstetrics and gynecology (83%)— low-wage specialties, and the women- and child-focused medical field that falls within our traditional understanding of “women’s work.” even in the same profession Recent research Employers in service sectors with higher concentrations of female employees were found to offer lower wages and fewer working hours, further highlighting the decline in the value of women’s work at the organizational level. .

Systematic solutions are required to overcome these structural problems. We cannot individually negotiate ways out of gender inequality in the workplace.

We need transparency in job ads and public payroll data and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Job advertisements must clearly state the hourly rate or salary range for the position. This saves time for everyone involved in the hiring process. This already has a legislative priority.state of recently commissioned new york All job advertisements and promotions must include a salary range. Other states and employers should follow suit.

Employers must also publish salary data. As Lily Ledbetter has shown, wage discrimination is more likely when income is kept confidential. When I was 16, I got my first pay raise and later a lesson in pay transparency at a job in an ice cream shop. My manager said I was getting a small raise (50 cents extra an hour), but not everyone got a raise, so I shouldn’t tell my co-workers. Told.

Many employers in the public sector are already required to publish salary data. I have worked at a public university. There you can look up the income of all faculty and staff. Information is power. Publishing salary data gives workers important information about the earnings of other employees in the organization, helping workers negotiate themselves. We also work with employers to ensure pay equity.

You can also encourage Congress to pass it. Payroll Fairness Act Updating and strengthening the Equal Pay Act of 1963 can help narrow the pay gap between men and women. The law will close loopholes and provide remedies for those suffering from wage discrimination. This prevents employers from retaliating against workers who discuss or disclose wages, and prohibits employers from setting wages based on payroll history. The bill passed the House in 2021 but was defeated in the Senate. The 118th Congress must pass the Payroll Fairness Act to close the gender pay gap.

But above all, we need a national assessment of what work and whose work is valued.

The value of women’s labor continues to decline. Jobs that we associate with domestic chores, such as caregiving, education and cleaning, pay less than those associated with the public sphere. This trend dates back to the Industrial Revolution, when the gender division of labor first appeared. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink essential jobs. When considering the future of work, we must consider the important role of teachers, nurses and other professions historically dominated by women.

Given these structural gender inequalities, women cannot rely on our methods to redress pay inequality. Let’s focus on the structural solutions needed to solve the inequalities in

Brittany N. Dernberger, Ph.D., is a lecturer in the sociology of sex and gender at George Washington University and a CARE USA expert.

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