Challenging the Gender Gap

The gender wage gap is a well-documented, persistent, and worldwide phenomenon wherein women earn, on average, an estimated 9 to 18 percent less than men who have the same job descriptions and equivalent education and experience. After a steady decline that began in the 1970s, the gap has remained constant since the early 1990s.

David Ross, PhD, Professor at Columbia Business School

I came across this rather startling paragraph yesterday, and found myself really quite upset. As an “aware, sensitive, caring, rapidly aging male baby-boomer”, I've known that the gender wage gap exists, but was not aware it was so persistently high on a global scale.

The thrust of this article, “Like Daughter, Like Father” was not on the gap per-se, but rather on a study showing that when a male CEO has a daughter, the gap closes, albeit slightly, within his company. This study, done in Denmark where equality is mandated both legally and culturally (but the gap still exists at the global average) showed that if the daughter is the “first-born” child the gap closes an average of 3%, while subsequent daughters will close the gap only another 0.5%.

While I am somewhat heartened that these male CEOs seem to become slightly more sensitized to the gender wage gap issue when they have daughters, I am angry that this is even an issue at all. Having come of age in the tumultuous 60’s, I would have hoped that 50 years later we would be beyond this fight for equality. I challenge one and all to read Professor Ross’ blog and then really look at your work environment and do what you can to eliminate gender wage discrimination. Perhaps then my granddaughter (and grandsons) won’t have to carry on the fight.