In Focus: Gender Pay Gap Underscores Unconscious Bias


Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek March 30, 2016

Discussion of the gender pay gap—that men are paid more than women are paid for the same work—heats up during Womens History Month in March, but it likely will continue to be a hot topic for the rest of the year. A study the American Association of University released recently takes a close look at the gap and how it can be closed. One organization that is a proponent of pay transparency was shocked to discover unconscious bias existed within the company. Others suggest there is a pay gap because of the choices women make about the work they do, and not because of discrimination. HR is critical to tackling gender bias, SHRM Online reported, and promoting equal pay.

What Buffer's Gender Pay Gap Can Tell Us About Unconscious Bias

Pay transparency is supposed to help companies close the gender pay gap. Buffer—the social media management tool provider—is one of the companies that's most publicly committed to transparency. But it was taken aback to discover, thanks to a public spreadsheet of every salary at the company, that female employees make less than males.

Amazon Pays Women 99.9% What It Pays Men

After fighting not to release details of what male and female employees are paid, Amazon has made the figures public. In a statement, Amazon said that a review of its entire U.S. staff, including warehouse workers, found that women's cmopensation in 2015 was 99.9 percent of men's in equivalent jobs. Further, minorities make 100.1 percent of what white workers earn, Amazon said. 
(USA Today)

Harvard Prof. Takes Down Gender Wage Gap Myth

The gap is due mostly to choices men and women make in their careers and not discrimination, says Claudia Goldin, an economics professor at Harvard University. Goldin argues that once you account for a number of factors, including taking time off from work and different careers, then there isn't "tons of evidence that it's true discrimination.”
(Washington Examiner)

Embracing a Myth: Most Workers Say There’s No Gender Pay Gap

A large majority of workers in seven industrialized nations mistakenly believe that men and women in their countries are paid equally for the same work, according to a new survey.
(SHRM Online)

How Does U.S. Gender Pay Gap Compare Internationally? Pretty Well, Study Says

The U.S. ranks low internationally for paying women less than men. But after factoring in several considerations such as proportional female employees and experience, the US actually fares pretty well.
(Christian Science Monitor)

Careers with the Biggest Gender Pay Gap

The jobs site has analyzed what happens to the gender pay gap after adjusting for attributes like age and education, and comparing men and women in the same occupations. It turns out that the gap shrinks — but does not disappear.
(USA Today)

Cornell University economists have found that the wage gap has been particularly stubborn for highly skilled women, suggesting a “glass ceiling” that’s constraining their pay.

What Could Finally Close the Gender Pay Gap?

How Americans work and view gender may need a radical overhaul to get the pay gap to narrow any further. That's because several stubborn issues continue to hamper women in the workplace.

Boston Mayor Walsh, Businesses Sign Pledge To Close Gender Wage Gap

Over a hundred local businesses have now signed on to a compact to work toward closing the gender wage gap in Boston.

Kathy Gurchiek is the associate editor at HR News. Follow her @SHRMwriter.


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