Why Closing The Gender Pay Gap Is More Important Than Ever


The gender pay gap impacts everyone. To have a fully functioning economy, every worker must be paid what they’re worth, not just 50% of us. Women are placed behind the curve their entire careers, and none of us should stand for this. Politicians and industry leaders are working to close this gap because they understand its importance. Here’s where the gap stands and what we can do to ensure equal pay for equal work. 

Gender Pay Gap Report: Women Working Full-Time Earn 82% of What Men Earn

According to Payscale’s 2022 State of the Gender Pay Gap Report, women earn $0.82 for every dollar men earn. While the gap is smaller in some industries and wider in others (and certainly more for women of color), this is the prevailing trend. Unsurprisingly, as it did with everything else, COVID-19 influenced the pay gap—and not in a good way.

While some institutions, such as the National Committee on Pay Equity, reported the pay gap closing during the pandemic, Payscale’s researchers don’t agree. If the gap appears to have shrunk, it’s likely because many women have left the workforce, especially lower-paid women who weren’t given the option to work remotely while staying home with their children. These women experienced terrible losses, with some having to give up their careers entirely. When lower-paid women leave the workforce, the average pay for working women increases — which means the pay gap might actually widen as more women return to paid work. It all comes down to who is and isn’t working.

The Wage Gap Takes a Higher Toll on Mothers

Payscale’s online salary survey asked respondents whether they had children. This allowed Payscale to analyze how parenthood impacts the wage gap. The results, unfortunately, were not surprising. 

Often referred to as the motherhood penalty, there is simply a wider pay gap for mothers. Women typically suffer a wage penalty when they return to the workforce after taking time away to raise children, especially after several years. Based on the data collected, Payscale found a gap of $0.74 for every dollar earned by fathers. 

When the data is “equalized” in terms of rank and position, Payscale found that mothers earn $0.98 for every $1 earned by fathers. Even when the roles of men and women are perfectly aligned, this gap still affects mothers in all positions, from the top to the bottom.

We believe in creating an inclusive workplace where everyone can thrive, and this means removing the motherhood penalty. A future where mothers and fathers are equally able to contribute to the household means changing the way businesses treat them. We are creating policies and programs that support parents, including parental leave and flexible work schedules — and, of course, equal pay for equal work. Having a child is hard enough without a lifelong reduction in earning potential.

Gaps in Work Can Widen the Pay Gap

We often consider the wage gap to be specific to work and pay, but what about other factors that influence how much money people make? What about unemployment? Gender differences exist here too, and unemployment penalties target women.

Women take a bigger hit with unemployment penalties, especially over time. When considering those who have been unemployed for less than three months, the gender pay gap has women earning $0.83 for every dollar that men make—and it doesn’t stop there.

Women who are out of work for extended periods of time also struggle more than men. When unemployment extends more than 24 months, the gender pay gap widens significantly. After this time period, women make $0.70 for every dollar men make. 

When women return to work after raising children (typically after years away), they often face challenges transitioning back to the workplace, which can be discouraging. Equal pay can help ease the transition as more women rejoin the workforce.

The Older Women Get, The Wider The Gap In Pay Gets

Age is also detrimental to women at work. Women often start their careers earning less than men, and this tends to worsen over time. As women grow older, the pay gap actually increases. 

Between the ages of 20 and 29, women earn $0.86 for every dollar men earn, because younger women tend to have lower-paying jobs due to lack of support or opportunity. Fortunately, when job title and other factors that influence pay are controlled, young men and women earn equal pay when they are given equal opportunities. This should be the standard.

Unfortunately, this changes when women reach new age brackets. For women between the ages of 30 and 44, the pay gap widens, with women earning $0.82 for every dollar men earn. Even when all compensable factors are balanced, women still only earn $0.98 for every dollar men make. Equality lessens with age.

As women reach 45 or older, the gender pay gap widens even more. Uncontrolled groups show an inequality as significant as women earning $0.73 for every dollar men earn. This means that women who work later in life are more likely to make less. Considering that women tend to live longer, this inequality forces them to accept a lower quality of life for years.

The System Is Stacked Against Moms, But We Can Change That

The system supports men, not women, and that is a challenge women are ready to address. Our current system keeps women in “traditional” roles where they are paid less (if they stay in the workforce at all), but we cannot allow this to continue. When childbearing is a barrier to earning, talented and knowledgeable women are discouraged from financially supporting their families.

At Stay in the Game, we believe women do not need to accept this reality. We can change it, which is why we provide flexible and remote work opportunities to keep women employed through the child-rearing years and beyond. When we put in the effort to support equal pay for equal work, we create a space where everyone can thrive—including women of all ages!

Stay In The Game provides opportunities for competent, educated individuals who have been out of the workforce. Now, they can get back in the game and put their talents to work. We offer jobs, training and community support. For more information, please visit our website https://stayinthegame.net/ or contact us at info@stayinthegame.net.