Yes, a lot has improved in terms of gender equality at workplace recently, but still, there is a long way to go. The wage gap is there for anybody see it; a woman will earn an average of 78% of what a man would if they were doing the same job.
But what is behind it?
# 1 – Women tend to work in lower-paying industries
Either for cultural reasons or due to social pressure, it is a factor of gender identification the fact that women still tend to work in lower-paying industries, such as childcare, social working, or nursing, instead of child psychology or medicine, for instance.
Even when they choose a career that could give them a better salary, they will still be mostly found in the entrance jobs – such as if, generally speaking, there will be more women working as GP compared to surgeons. Women also tend to choose careers where takes much longer to advance into high-paying positions, such as teaching or healthcare.
# 2 – Women’s work is not as valued as men’s work
Unfortunately, it still is considered by many people that women’s work isn’t as valuable as men’s work. Some still will say that women only get a job if they fail to find a more suitable husband, or because they need to help him to provide.
Their money is seeing as the second income, and a large number of men still feels threatened by a woman who earns more than him. So it seems completely fine if she only makes enough to fill the gap between his salary and the bills.
# 3 – A possible pregnancy increases discrimination
Even though companies aren’t allowed to say it out loud, the truth is that many employers will avoid hiring women for key positions as they fear they will lose them while they are pregnant. Meaning that they are more likely to offer women jobs where they are dispensable if they decide to have a baby or extend their maternity leaves.
But it is just one of the reasons of discrimination. Still, there are a significant number of employers who just don’t believe that women can have good leadership skills or are capable of dealing with the same challenges and achieving the same goals as a man would. And they strategically seem always to choose male candidates when selecting new employees.
# 4 – Many women suffer from self-sabotage or impostor syndrome
For never been encouraged to see themselves as great professionals but as prospective mothers and wives instead, many women suffer from self-sabotage. They unconsciously think that if they focus on their careers they might never to get married or have a family.
Others will manage to have a career but feel paralysed at some stage, considering that they just don’t deserve what they got. It is known as impostor syndrome, an inner voice – that can also affect men – constantly saying to you that people will soon notice that you are nothing but a fraud.
# 5 – Women might not be as good as negotiators
According to several surveys, even when a woman major in the same university as a man, the chances are that she will get her first job earning less than a male university mate. And, yes, it can be blamed on pure discrimination. But it has also been pointed out that her poor negotiation skills might be the culprit.
For never being taught how to stand up for herself and believe in her value as a professional, many women will be happy with the first offer of their soon-to-be new employee. They won’t try to get more than what is on the table, not even try to add some extra benefits to compensate the difference.
# 6 – Women work fewer hours than men on average
As the housework and the care of small children still usually fall on women’s arms, it is only natural that many women will look for jobs that allow them to get both tasks done. As a consequence, they will choose positions with flexible hours or part-time jobs – and, of course, neither of them will give them any incredible salary.
Currently, people are working more and more hours, and the fact that a woman might not be available when her boss needs because she has to collect her child at school will make many companies give them only expendable jobs.
# 7 – Getting back to work later on is harder
Many women, for several reasons, end up stopping to work and staying at home to mind their children. The idea is that they will get back to it when they are older and more independent. However, it is easier said than done. After three, five, ten years out of work, you lose connections, expertise, and you can’t just get back to it as if you had left your desk yesterday.
The ideal advice is that, if you are in this situation, you should prepare yourself for it. That you should get back studying, going to conferences, and networking long before your deadline. But that is not something easy to achieve if you are on one income and lacking motivation after some many years doing only housework.
The bottom line
As you can see, there are many reasons why so many women earn less than men after college. The good news is that the scenario has been changing even though it is a slow process. The new generation of millennials seems to be more conscious of it and ready to fight for their places in the same way that a man would do.
That is to say that instead of complaining about the persisting discrimination and all the hard challenges that only women have to face, it is time to remain positive and persistent. This way any woman or man can find the job that they dream and be decently and equally paid for it.