In a previous post, I had noted that according to the 2015 Survey on Retention and Promotion of Women in Law Firms by the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and The NAWL Foundation, the situation for female lawyers remains challenging. Women still account for only 18 percent of equity partnerships, and the typical female equity partner earns 80 percent of what a typical male equity partner earns.
Unfortunately, the gender gap problem goes well beyond the field of law. In most other professions, men are paid more than women over their lifetimes. But what does gender bias have to do with a paycheck? Where are the worst problems, and what can we do about them?
The American Association of University Women (AAUW), a national leader in promoting equity and education for women and girls, is working to hone in on those answers. AAUW’s annual publication titled The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap goes well beyond the 80 percent pay gap statistic and looks at how the gap affects women based on age, race and educational achievement. This year, the report also includes information about disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Below are a few 2016 highlights as provided by the AAUW:
- The gender pay gap won’t close until 2152.
- The pay gap is even larger for women of color as well as mothers.
- The size of the pay gap is worse in some states than others.
- While more education helps increase women’s earnings, it doesn’t close the pay gap.
What can individuals and employers do to close the gender pay gap? According to The Simple Truth, negotiating pays off. “Knowing what your skills are worth and learning techniques to pro- mote them can help,” the report explains. Negotiation tactics shown to be effective for women include:
- Knowing what your skills are worth
- Making clear what you bring to the table
- Emphasizing common goals
- Maintaining a positive attitude
For employers, closing the gap goes beyond knowing equal pay is a must. The Simple Truth says that transparency in discussions about compensation can make a difference in the workplace. Audits can also help employers effectively monitor gender pay differences. These and other recommendations are available in the full report.
It is our sincere hope at Milestone that by bringing these issues and solutions to light through the AAUW, Women En Mass and other efforts, our country can accelerate the closing of the gender gap and provide equal opportunities for all.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).