Crossing the divide: Women finally out-earning men?
It’s taken awhile, but slowly and surely women are closing the gender earnings gap. Compensation is finally catching up to workforce composition. Studies show that the workforce is almost equally comprised of men and women. With the labour force evening out, paycheques have had some catching up to do. Women are demanding and are finally receiving higher salaries, at times out-earning men.
It’s about time, right? It’s only taken….forever. But as generations of women have increasingly placed greater importance on post-secondary education and careers, equal pay for equal qualifications and work is finally happening. We’re not entirely there yet – on average women who work in comparable roles to men may still earn less – but we’re moving in the right direction.
According to a Pew Research Center study, “young women now surpass young men in the importance they place on having a high-paying career or profession.” Women entering similar roles to men should have always been paid the same, but now as more women than men are increasingly entering high-paying careers we’re starting to see a shift.
I have a couple of friends who out-earn their male partners, and are considered the household breadwinner. This is a huge reversal from those 1950s images of the so-called picture perfect nuclear family. The topic of women earning more than men has been making headlines for the past couple of years. In a 2011 article for The Atlantic, writer Kate Bolick describes male economic dominance as “passing into extinction.”
The recent economic collapse didn’t help matters for men. It’s been reported that more men have lost their jobs over the ensuing years than women. A recent Maclean’s article states that, “job losses during the last recession (and the two before it) were mostly incurred by men, who dominate the hardest hit sectors such as construction and manufacturing.” Women are starting to make greater gains in fields such as “medicine, law, upper management and high finance,” and in doing so out earning men and holding on to their jobs during difficult economic times.
This economic shift is also causing societal changes. Women are not getting married as early as they were 50 years ago. Bolick writes that, “women don’t need husbands in the way they used to,” which could account for why “the number of single adults rose to 50% in 2010, compared to 33% in 1950.”
Times are changing. Women are movin’ on up and everyone is adjusting. There are a more stay at home Dads now than there were 10 years ago, and if the studies are any indication of economic, societal and household trends we could see a lot more role reversals in the future. We all still have a ways to go in regard to complete equal pay for equal work but progress is forging ahead. As the workforce evens out, paycheques have no choice but to follow.