Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Women outperform men in school, but still earn less

Canadian women do far better than men when it comes to school, but in the year 2010 we STILL lag way behind men in terms of salary.

Findings from Education Indicators in Canada show that when compared to 30 other countries in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, Canadian women make about 63% of the salary of a similarly educated man. That's only up slightly from 61% in 1998.

Women are earning less than men despite that fact that women achieve better academic results than men at all levels. High school girls graduate at a rate of 8% higher than boys. In college that number jumps to 11%. When it comes to university degrees, women graduate at a staggering rate of 18% higher than men.

How come we’re better educated than men and still making way less money? It may be due to a number of reasons:

(a) Canada is actually quite a ‘traditional’ country when it comes to child rearing. Women are still mainly responsible for childcare and place more importance on family than men, causing them to work fewer hours or part-time. Statistics Canada figures from July show that more than twice as many women as men work part-time jobs in Canada.

(b) Women still face biases in the workplace. A study by Catalyst shows that women with MBA’s from top business schools around the world earn an average of $4,500 less as a starting salary than men with the same credentials. Women are also less likely to move into leadership roles than men.

(c) Perhaps companies are willing to pay men more than they are women. Or perhaps women are willing to work for less. I remember reading in Naomi Wolf’s book The Beauty Myth that too many women don’t believe they’re “worth it” and will settle for lower wages. Maybe men are more likely to ask for a raise, or more driven to be financially successful.

None of this really comes as news to me, because studies have continuously shown that women make far less than similarly educated men. But there’s definitely a part of me that thinks, “Really? Come on! It’s 2010 people!” Although I believe that much of this inequality is caused by patriarchal norms that are embedded in society, along with a long-standing belief that men just deserve more, I do think that women themselves need to be more demanding, more confident and more sure of what they're worth.

Source: Women at work: still behind on the bottom line - The Globe & Mail

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