Examining the gender wage gap

April 3, 2015

Women make 79 cents for every dollar earned by a man. It’s a statistic we have seen a lot the past year, and it’s a statistic that bothers Sarah Jane Glynn, director for Women’s Economic Policy at American Progress. Ms. Glynn, who spoke with Madeira students at an All School Meeting on April 3, 2015, explained that while this statistic has been good for getting attention on wage inequality, it does not tell the whole story. For instance it does not reveal that despite leading men in education, women are in far fewer management roles than men.

A PhD in sociology, Ms. Glynn explained that there are many factors that contribute to women earning less in the workforce, one of which she argues is that starting at an early age we guide boys and girls to different paths which leads to men and women holding different types of jobs. She explained to fix the gender wage gap we need to help women find good jobs, keep good jobs, and create supportive workplaces. She states that simply encouraging women into male-dominated fields like STEM will not fix the problem because working at those tech companies are not appealing for women. The “Don Draper”, give-everything-to-work is not something realistic for most women.

Her parting advice to Madeira students is to not fear negotiating. “Having a five minute uncomfortable conversation could save you the pain of an empty bank account at the end of the month,” she said. She also encouraged girls to consider how they can “lift while they climb,” so that we close the gender wage gap.

Prior to coming to American Progress, Sarah Jane Glynn worked as an adjunct faculty member at Vanderbilt University and Belmont University in Nashville, TN. She also served on the editorial staff for Work and Occupations, an interdisciplinary sociological journal. Ms. Glynn’s research has focused on understudied aspects of the service economy, including working conditions, skilled service providers, and entrepreneurialism. Ms. Glynn received her Ph.D. in sociology from Vanderbilt University, where she also earned her M.A. A native of California, she holds a B.A. in women’s studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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