Tags: womens soccer team | equal pay | pay gap

Does It Pay to Be a Woman in Corporate America?

Does It Pay to Be a Woman in Corporate America?
Megan Rapinoe and members of the United States Women's National Soccer Team are honored at a ceremony at City Hall on July 10, 2019 in New York City. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Wednesday, 24 July 2019 10:51 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Earlier this month, the U.S. women’s soccer team returned home to a parade of champions after winning their fourth World Cup. This, despite being knee-deep in a battle to earn as much money as the men’s team, whose best finish came in 1930, when they placed third.

This, unfortunately, is not a new fight for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, nor for women as a whole in the U.S. work place.

White women working full time jobs make approximately 80 cents on the dollar to men, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Women of color tend to make less, with black women earning 63 cents on the dollar, Native American women making 57 cents, and Latina women taking home fifty-four cents, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

Recognizing this, Congress introduced numerous acts over the years, including the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, and the Paycheck Fairness Act. However, due to a large number of companies being privately held and not required to comply with Congress’ directives, these statutes did not move the financial needle enough to make a true difference between men’s and women’s wages.

Other factors affecting the disparity include education, culture, and discrimination, along with the hard truth that female dominated occupations often pay less than male dominated professions.

So, what is the answer? How do we change the anti-female bias, cultural views, perceived gender stereotypes, and race discrimination to close the gender pay gap? It starts with the acknowledgement and acceptance by both men and women that there is an issue, as well as an understanding of the divisiveness created by such a discrepancy and how it has created a domino effect in the work place, tinting everything from the gravity of female opinions versus their male counterparts to how desk and office locations are assigned to women and men holding equal positions within their respective companies.

One way to achieve real change and equal pay among the sexes comes when companies make a true commitment to electing women of all color and backgrounds onto their compensation boards. This allows for diversity at the executive level, ensuring that women of all ethnicities have representation at the top and a collective voice that reflects the values and needs of all women in every department of the company. Once these female board members take action and begin the essential conversations of fair compensation in the work place, the pay barriers will continue to erode.

For the U.S. women’s soccer team, winning a fourth World Cup gave them a magnificent universal spotlight to amplify that conversation. Female executives need to be the ones to get up and flick the light switch on and off for the difficult discussions to begin.

The good news is that more women than ever before are sitting at the table in board rooms across America with companies like Facebook, General Mills, Marriott International, and Viacom boasting an unusually large percentage of female senior managers and corporate executives. The National Association of Female Executives (NAFE) says that thirty-two percent of the board members in the firms listed on its 2019 list of Companies for Executive Women are female, with nineteen percent of those businesses working under a female CEO.


But the trickle-down effect is a slow one. In taking a sweeping view of boardrooms from coast to coast, one still finds many more suits and ties than pant suits and skirts.

Real change and meaningful progress are never easy, especially when it comes to issues of gender. Us women still have a long journey ahead before we can rest assured that our pay is equal.

Sheila Ronning, founder and CEO of Women In The Boardroom – an organization founded with the goal of bridging the gender gap in the boardroom – is a recognized expert on boardroom diversity and leadership. Follow her on Twitter (Twitter @RonningSheila).

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Earlier this month, the U.S. women’s soccer team returned home to a parade of champions after winning their fourth World Cup. This, despite being knee-deep in a battle to earn as much money as the men’s team, whose best finish came in 1930, when they placed third.
womens soccer team, equal pay, pay gap
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2019-51-24
Wednesday, 24 July 2019 10:51 AM
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