United Way of Southwest Alabama / President's Desk  / President’s Blog: The Gender Pay Gap

President’s Blog: The Gender Pay Gap

When I was a little girl, I knew that I was going to have a career. My Barbie dolls had careers, and I really did not play with baby dolls. I was very politically aware and knew that women did not have the same opportunities for careers or career advancement as our male counterparts, but I saw that as a challenge. Little did I know, that 50 years later, women still do not have the same opportunities for advancement or for equal pay.  I somehow thought that we would have evolved further as a society than we have.

In listening to public radio this morning, I heard a dismaying fact, “The gender gap in pay has remained relatively stable in the United States over the past 20 years or so. In 2022, women earned an average of 82% of what men earned, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers. These results are similar to where the pay gap stood in 2002, when women earned 80% as much as men.”

How can this be?  How can so little advancement for women have occurred in the last 20 years, and why do we, as a society, allow this disparity?

This week, I had a conversation with a female executive, who serves as the North American President for an international company. We were trying to find time for a face to face meeting, and I mentioned how important and busy she is, and she brushed me off with the comment that she was not important.  I replied that if she were a male, she would not have been so dismissive of her position. She said, “You’re right.”

As women, we must start speaking up for ourselves. We must demand equal pay; we must demand a seat at management tables; we must demand fair treatment, and we must work to ensure that 20 years from now, the next female executive at United Way of Southwest Alabama does not hear that the gap in pay has only moved 2% in the positive direction.