Equal Pay Day 2018: Good news and bad news

There’s cause for celebration and continued concern around Equal Pay Day 2018. Awareness is improving, but we still have a long way to go, especially for black and Latina women.

Equal Pay Day 2018: Good news and bad news
Glen Martin | The Denver Post | Getty Images

Equal Pay Day made its appearance again — the day in 2018 through which U.S. white women had to work to earn what the average U.S. white man earned in 2017. Black women’s Equal Pay Day isn’t until Aug. 20, and Latinas Equal Pay Day is Nov. 1.

Depending on whom you ask, the gender wage gap is between 18 percent and 20 percent across all industries, though it is narrower in the technology sector. The gap widens, though, as women gain experience, according to a Hired report. And a recent 2018 Women in Tech report from HackerRank shows that women in technology who are over 35 years old are 3.5 times more likely to be in junior roles than their male counterparts.

Large enterprise companies such as Salesforce, Intel and Adobe have made headlines for identifying and rectifying the pay gap within their workforces, and even smaller organizations such as Instructure and Hired are conducting pay equity reviews to make sure women and men are paid equally.

Even with heightened awareness and newsworthy action, though, a number of pervasive myths stubbornly remain about the gender pay gap, which Kristen Bellstrom debunks in a Fortune article, including the fact that a full 37 percent of men surveyed say the gap it doesn’t exist.

How to address pay inequalities

What else can be done to address pay inequalities? States, including Oregon, Massachusetts and California, have made it illegal for hiring companies to ask for your salary history, which is a step in the right direction. Also, comprehensive compensation planning strategy can ensure companies actually pay equal wages for equal work. And transparent pay structures and having open conversations about how much certain skills and experience are worth can also help.

Strengthening equal pay laws so that women have the tools they need to fight back against pay discrimination, increasing the availability of child care, providing flexible work arrangements, providing paid leave, and having union protections are overall policies that will help, too, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

While there’s progress being made, we still have a long way to go.

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