It's Check-Out Time for the Gender Pay Gap
By Dana Kravetz Managing Partner, Michelman & Robinson, LLP | August 04, 2019
The headlines are seemingly nonstop: "Wage gap is even worse than we had thought," reads the Chicago Tribune, "Women still earn lower salaries, fewer promotions," proclaims USA Today, and "America doesn't just have a gender pay gap. It has a gender wealth gap," reports the Washington Post.
This drumbeat of news regarding the divide between what men and women in the U.S. earn reflects numbers that are stunning, to say the least. Here we are, more than 56 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, and females in this country are paid $0.80 for every dollar made by their male counterparts – this according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR). For women of color, the data is far worse, with African Americans making $0.63 and Latinas $0.54 compared to each dollar paid to white men.
Need more proof that women are being (quite literally) shortchanged? According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, the total estimated earnings lost by a female compared to a male over the span of a nearly 50-year career are $700,000 for a high school graduate, $1.2 million for a college graduate, and $2 million for a professional school graduate. There is more. Research by the IWPR suggests that if the sexes were compensated equally, the poverty level in the U.S. would be cut in half and women would add $513 billion to the nation's economy.
On the plus side, the gender pay gap has significantly narrowed since 1980, when, according to the Pew Research Center, women overall made 64% as much as men did in hourly earnings. That being said, the current pace of correction has largely stalled, and pay parity will not be realized for many decades – perhaps even a century.
The Hospitality Industry Isn't Immune from Pay Gap Issues
The problem of earning disparities between the sexes is no doubt related, in part, to an ever-present opportunity gap. Castell Project Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the careers of women in the hospitality industry, recently released its 2019 Women in Hospitality Industry Leadership report that bears out this truth. The survey reveals that just one-in-nine Presidents and one-in-22 CEOs in the hotel space are women. The news isn't all bad: women are now about half of director-level employees in hotel companies, which is progress. Nevertheless, females working for hotels are not being considered for promotion at the same rate as their male colleagues.