11 Minute Read

#EqualPayDay: Soccer Stars, Female Executives and the Adjusted Wage Gap

Happy #EqualPayDay to all us women out there. On a day where we reflect on the extra vacations, car upgrades and watches we could be enjoying, let’s see what the world brings us today in the news on Woman and #equalpay.

Shot, Scored, Swindled

Women’s National Soccer Team has been in the headlines lately, this time not for winning every tournament in sight. Top players have stepped up to surface the dissonance between men and women players at the same level.


“The numbers speak for themselves,” said goalkeeper Hope Solo, one of the players to sign the complaint. “We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships.” Solo said the men’s players “get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”




It’s a let down when the women don’t win Gold, it’s a national triumph when the men make it out of pool play. Why is the clearly more qualified team receiving so much less in compensation?


Read more about the Soccer Case here


Who Run the World?

But the discrimination and wage gap doesn’t stop there. Back to the business world with Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary. *Groundbreaking news*, he invests in women. Not for some affirmative action bullshit, but because he is a businessman looking at numbers and the companies he sees making money have women at the helm.


“All the cash in the last two-quarters is coming from companies run by women. I don’t have a single company run by a man right now that’s outperformed the ones run by women.”


Researchers found that having more women in overall executive positions was tied to greater profitability at companies. Great, so all investors are using this formula? WRONG-O. Take a guess at entrepreneurial funding. Women are way less likely to be funded than men. Male entrepreneurs are 86% more likely to be VC funded than their female counterparts and men were 59% more likely to secure angel investment. Is this song starting to sound a little familiar? That’s because again, even when the stakes are the same (in soccer, in entrepreneurial ventures), the gap between wages, compensation, funding, MONEY, is still maddeningly wide.


Did you know male entrepreneurs are 86% more likely to be VC funded than their female counterparts? #EqualPayDay Click To Tweet


Yahoo Yard Sale, Marissa Mayer Moving On

Whenever we bring up how women aren’t really tapped for the executive level so much, someone brings up Marissa Mayer. But our golden girl is also sinking. Yahoo is looking for buyers and Marissa is probably seen her reign end at the tech giant. Yahoo is now valued at $34 billion, when once worth $255 billion in the early 2000s. Marissa was hired as CEO in 2012.

That pensive feeling creeping up on you? That’s every woman you know simultaneously cringing that Mayer’s failures will be deemed her own. It’s every wage gap denier screaming, “SEEEEE???!!! Women can’t run the world!” Despite Yahoo’s long descent into troubled waters, only Mayer’s shortcomings and gender will be remembered.


Dollars and Cents

The hot number of the day is 79 cents, which translates to months having to work more to make up the cash. Fast Company, however, is saying pay, and how we look at the wage gap, is much more complex than we think. Glassdoor’s took a look at industries and job demographic data to try to come to an adjusted wage gap number.


“Census figures show women make up only 26% of highly paid chief executives but 71% of low-paid cashiers.” –Andrew Chamberlain @adchamberlain, Glassdoor


Sorting out men and women into jobs and industries that pay differently throughout the economy explains 54% of the overall or “unadjusted” pay gap, in contrast to differences in education and experience. Adding all adjustments in, Glassdoor shows the earnings at just a -5.4% pay disadvantage for women rounding out to $0.95. Big change there. Need to read more? Here is the article. Perhaps we should call this an opportunity gap?

It’s worth noting here that this is a female problem AND a minority problem. White females fare the best, OBVS, with Hispanic women earning a paltry 55 cents to every dollar and black women earning 55 cents per dollar.



Go ‘Head Girl

Women typically ask for $14,000 less on average up front than a man applying for the same post. (CNN Money)

Women are making strides daily to rise in the ranks across all industries. Good news is our daughters will have it better than us. Historically, women would ask for less and negotiate less often, and not apply for jobs felt not qualified for. However, the new gen’ could offer a greater push to close the gap than ever before. Companies like Buffer are slowly pushing other software companies toward pay transparency but they recently checked out their own numbers and discovered that they too had a pay gap!

Women in technology, sales or marketing with two years’ or less experience actually got salary offers that were 7% higher than those received by equally inexperienced men, according to the jobs site Hired. And while these findings, and those from Glassdoor alluded to above are encouraging, they don’t do quite enough to solve the problem and these small percentages are few and far between.


Women typically ask for $14,000 less on average up front than a man applying for the same post. #EqualPayDay Click To Tweet


Just the Facts Jane

Huffington Post writer Catherine Pearson took on the wage gap deniers thusly:


“Few experts dispute that there is a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women — such as women tending to leave the workforce when they have children — make it difficult to make simple comparisons. That’s what’s so facile about repeatedly citing ‘78 cents,’” argued a 2015 Washington Post article. (Since that piece came out, the figure increased from 78 to 79 cents.)

But the argument that “life choices” made by women are the real reason behind the gap is, in itself, an absurd oversimplification. Sure, many women choose to stay home or cut back their hours after having children. But many others don’t opt out. They’re forced out because they cannot afford child care, or find a full-time job that affords them any kind of flexibility. And, culturally, Americans remain ambivalent about women working outside of the home. A little more than 30% of Americans still believe women should stay home full-time to care for young children. These biases, which play out both in the workplace and outside of it, affect how much “choice” some women feel they actually have, and speaks to the types of judgments women face for making said choices. Plus, women face a well-known “motherhood penalty.” They’re less likely to be hired for jobs once they have children — unlike men, whose prospects improve.

A quick look at this graph makes it apparent that many women can’t just “stay home”.




Finally, here are some things you can actually do to help bridge the gap:


For companies

While some CEOs have been vocal in their commitment to paying workers fairly, American women can’t wait for trickle-down change. AAUW urges companies to conduct salary audits to proactively monitor and address gender-based pay differences. It’s just good business.


For individuals

Women can learn strategies to better negotiate for equal pay. AAUW’s salary negotiation workshops help empower women to advocate for themselves when it comes to salary, benefits, and promotions.


For policy makers

The Paycheck Fairness Act would improve the scope of the Equal Pay Act, which hasn’t been updated since 1963, with stronger incentives for employers to follow the law, enhance federal enforcement efforts, and prohibit retaliation against workers asking about wage practices. Tell the Congress to take action for equal pay.


Learn more about what you can do to fight the pay gap by reading The Simple Truth and by taking action at fightforfairpay.org. You can also learn a little more about the 2009 Legislation Lily Ledbetter Act here.