"Women lose over 241 million dollars a year to direct discrimination"
February 2, 2016 5:54 PM   Subscribe

So, with 70MM women in the workforce (http://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/facts_over_time.htm), $3.44 per woman per year?
posted by alphamule at 6:29 PM on February 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

It's unfortunate that so many people and politicians trot out the most egregious figure to support policies that would not substantially shift the number, and would probably harm society, albeit slightly.

Reducing sexist marketing to children and teenagers, improving access to education (esp STEM), and more affordable child care (especially for infants) could address the larger, structural sources of the pay gap. Instead we're pushing firms to report salary data, in hopes of finding them redhanded in overt, direct discrimination. We know that looking at the big picture alone to assign blame can lead to paradoxical results that equal pay for equal roles can't solve.
posted by pwnguin at 6:32 PM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

We can, and should, do all the things pwnguin.

[I'm not sure how a fear of simpson's paradox is an argument for keeping salary data secret]
posted by srboisvert at 6:43 PM on February 2, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm surprised it's so little, actually. That figure seems way off.
posted by Jubey at 6:44 PM on February 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

There are a bunch of links to more detailed sources in the video description (the dooblydoo to nerdfighters).
posted by Wretch729 at 7:27 PM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah, my first thought was, "Wait, only $241 million?"

We'd be making out like bandits if we could resolve the gender pay gap for twice that amount, considering the pain it causes. I am therefore skeptical about that number.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:28 PM on February 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

Instead we're pushing firms to report salary data, in hopes of finding them redhanded in overt, direct discrimination

I don't think thats by any means the only goal. In industries like mine (tech) salaries are an individually negotiated thing. There is some banding by level/etc but really the company will pay you what they need to keep you. There is also evidence that women are both offered less and less willing to negotiate salary, but its hard for any individual to know this without salary data.

It benefits everyone to know salaries (well, everyone except the employer, who has the upper hand otherwise), but it will disproportionately benefit women (which is a good thing).

In other words, women can be losing out on salary not just because of explicit sexism of the form "we will pay women less!" but also just implicit bias in offers and negotiation.
posted by thefoxgod at 7:36 PM on February 2, 2016 [12 favorites]

Surely they meant BILLION, right? Which would still only by $3,440 per person- which even then sounds a bit low?
posted by Philby at 9:57 PM on February 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

The pay gap is a complicated issue. I think it makes sense that it may not be as large in absolute dollar terms as we might expect. It's not as simple as all women being hired at a discount compared to men.

Among recent college graduates from 2009 to 2013, women earn roughly 97 cents for every dollar young men earn for doing the same job and having similar qualifications, according to new research from economists at the New York Federal Reserve.

But there's a lot of variation. Men still earn way more than women in some fields -- a whooping 21% more in agriculture, for example. But young females who majored in social services, treatment therapy and industrial engineering actually beat men by 10% or more.

Of course, this falls apart mid-career when women often fall behind because of family obligations. I'm a big fan of reporting salary data so we can look at the issue with the best available numbers, but I do agree with pwnguin that things like government and business support for employees building a family is almost certainly going to have to be a major plank in how we fix this issue with reforms.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:52 PM on February 2, 2016 [4 favorites]

Until very recently I did this math for a living under the umbrella of affirmative action planning. Government contractors and banks are required to maintain this sort of analysis as part of the cost of doing business with the government. There a couple of things I'll toss in here.
As someone above mentioned above, it is very true that women are more reticent to ask for raises as well as accept/request lower starting salaries. This is a very real statistically provable thing. It's an awkward thing because naturally a company or organization does not want to compensate more than is necessary, but at the same time that's still legally discrimination. In my almost 18 years experience, statistically provable discrimination other than described above is pretty damned rare. It takes a lot of elements to determine how people are compensated, time with company, time in job, age (as a proxy for experience) particular skills etc etc etc. Don't get me wrong, it definitely happens and is usually at the hand of a single rogue hiring manager... But at the end of the day, more often than not, believe it or not, people in charge of hiring (and this is where it all starts) just want the best person for the job.
posted by hatchetjack at 1:48 AM on February 3, 2016 [9 favorites]

Of course, this falls apart mid-career when women often fall behind because of family obligations.

Framing it as "obligations" is a not-inconsiderable part of the problem. The only "obligation" that women have in continuing the species that men cannot share is 6-12 hours of labor. Everything else is a tax on women imposed by a system that doesn't want them to succeed.
posted by Etrigan at 5:34 AM on February 3, 2016 [14 favorites]

The $241 million number is mentioned in the video as the most conservative number possible. In other words, if you're famous for drawing Dilbert, even then you've got to admit that direct gender discrimination alone is responsible for at least a $241 million difference, or 4%.

The answer for the rest of us is somewhere between 4% and 21%, which I *think* would be more like $1.265 billion. There are tons of link in the video description.
posted by pwinn at 8:07 AM on February 3, 2016

And that's not including compensation for childcare, nor for therapy-cum-consultant-cum-cheerleader of emotional labor, nor for domestic housekeeping services like cooking, cleaning, decorating/design, minor repairs, etc.
posted by eclectist at 8:20 AM on February 3, 2016

Of course, this falls apart mid-career when women often fall behind because of family obligations.

Here are some other places where this "falls apart"

Women are punished for negotiating. Let's say that a man and a woman are provided identical offers for the same position. The man will (generally) request increased base pay, an extra week of vacation, a better health plan, flex time, whatever. Perks. The person offering the job (generally) negotiates in good faith, and generally considers a man's wilingness and ability to negotiate as a sign of his potential benefit to the company. A woman generally accepts the offer with gratitude but perhaps makes a request. When a woman starts negotiating, the person making an offer (generally) loses respect, and sometimes withdraws the offer. Women who negotiate in these situations are seen as selfish, not a team player, bitchy, greedy, too direct, uncouth. This willingness to begin negotiation is viewed as potentially a risk for the company. These front ended differences in negotiation styles and outcomes lead to very different career trajectories and pay disparities. (if my memory serves, the video doesn't address this)

Men are promoted faster and further than women, even in female dominated fields. Pay increases come as part of promotions. Additionally, promotion increases (generally) take into account the salary an employee had before the promotion. So women are twice handicapped here. Hiring and promotion decisions are made at the top, and a key factor in hiring and promotion decisions often involve the implicit question "which of these candidates is most like me/my expectation of a person in power?" So white men and women will more likely choose a white woman over a woman of color. Nearly everyone implicitly selects a white man, and justifies that selection even when no empirical date supports the choice. (such justifications include more prestigious internship experience, or a greater number of extracurricular activities, even when pitted against a woman who has more actual work experience in the actual field in question, or a better degree, or other actual indicators.) (the video addresses the greater numbers of men in higher positions, but not promotion speeds.)

Marriage and children affect women's and men's pay in opposite ways. Married men (generally) see their pay increase relative to unmarried men, and married women (generally) see a decrease relative to unmarried women. Obviously, it's not immediate and overt. Married women are (generally) considered less devoted to work and are less often considered for promotions. Ditto for people with children. Even married woman are sometimes told in the workplace that they can't have a raise because other men in the organization "Have families to support" I wish I were kidding. This still happens. (the video partially addresses this)

Men refuse (subtly or overtly) to take on the "obligations" of nuclear and extended family. Men who make such refusals are not punished in any way for this. Women who attempt to refuse are (generally) socially sanctioned by family and friends. When men do take on these "obligations" they are rewarded. Women who take on the obligations are also punished. Either by being removed from promotion consideration, or not offered interesting/challenging projects, or by being shuffled subtly out of a company. (the video makes mention of "unpaid work" I was very glad to see that. Entire books have been written about compensating unpaid labor - I'm thinking about how the book Shadow Work: The unpaid, unseen work that fills your day, which spends a lot of time talking about clearing your own tables at restaurants...that books felt like it was very much directed at a male audience when I read it. In part because I was like, 90% of the work I do is neither paid nor recognized. Which is status quo for a lot of women. But for men. To do work and not get praised is just...practically unheard of.)
posted by bilabial at 10:04 AM on February 3, 2016 [9 favorites]

"Have families to support" I wish I were kidding. This still happens.

*raises hand* Yep it happens.
posted by Jalliah at 10:19 AM on February 3, 2016

It says over 241 million. 241 billion is over 241 million.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:43 PM on February 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

"This shouldn’t be headline-worthy, but it is.

2015 was a good year to be a woman at Intel—at least when it comes to getting paid fairly.

An analysis of compensation at the chip giant revealed no disparity in pay across genders, according to the firm’s 2015 diversity report."
The company still has a ways to go when it comes to female leadership - women now hold 17.6% of leadership roles, up 14.3% from 2014.
posted by cynical pinnacle at 8:36 AM on February 4, 2016

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