When the comedian Ricky Gervais joked that he was paid the same to host the Golden Globes as the actresses Tina Fey and Amy Poehler — combined — his barbed humor most likely resonated in many workplaces.
More than a half-century after President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, the gender pay gap is still with us. Women earn 79 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the Census Bureau.
That statistic is based on the median salaries of full-time workers, not men and women doing the same jobs, but other data show that the gap occurs in a broad range of occupations. Women who are surgeons earn 71 percent of what men earn, while food preparers earn 87 percent, according to data from Claudia Goldin, a Harvard economist.
The gap cannot be entirely explained by anything economists can measure— workers’ education and experience, the jobs they choose, the hours they work or the time they take off. That leaves other factors that are hard to quantify, like discrimination or women’s perception of the choices available to them.
So what might work to close the gap? Social scientists and policy makers have some ideas, as do companies that have been trying to combat the problem in their work forces.
Full story: New York Times »