January 25, 2002
Gender Gap Growing
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It may not be news that female managers make less money than men in many industries, but a new congressional study finds that the wage gap actually deepened during the economic boom years of 1995 to 2000.
On average, full-time female managers earned less than their male counterparts in the 10 industries that employ 71 percent of all female workers. In seven of the 10 fields, the pay difference widened.
The backward earnings slide alarmed the two congressional members who requested and analyzed the report, according to the Washington Post.
"I don't find one line of good news in the report," said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y. "Yet I think people believe women are doing better."
"There are more questions raised by the study, frankly, than answers," said Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich.
Dingell and Maloney said the study brings up many questions that may end up being addressed by regulations or legislation, including an examination of maternity-leave policies and a fresh look at the Equal Rights Amendment.
The study, prepared by the General Accounting Office, found that a full-time female communications manager earned 86 cents for every dollar a male made in her industry in 1995. In 2000, she made only 73 cents on the man's dollar.
The industries under study included public administration; professional medical services; hospitals and medical services; education; entertainment and recreation services; finance, insurance and real estate; business and repair services; retail trade; and other professional services.
The study also reported that women in management positions find it more difficult than men to balance family and career. About 60 percent of married female managers do not have children at home, while 40 percent of married male managers are not raising children.
"I really did believe it would be easier for our daughters," Maloney said at a lunch with female reporters and editors where the report was released in advance.
Maloney said the report's findings are particularly troubling because there is a general sense in the United States that generation by generation, women have been edging closer to equality with men in many areas, including career and compensation.
"It's a wake-up call, not only for corporate America but all of America," she said.