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Feminist News


September-30-10

Report Shows Little Progress for Women in Management

A report released by the Government Accountability Office on Tuesday indicates that women have not made substantial progress in obtaining management positions in the past decade. The study also found that a substantial pay gap still exists and has only barely decreased since 2000, according to the New York Times. The report compares 2007 statistics, the most recent year with comprehensive management data, with statistics from 2000, and finds that the numbers have changed little over the past seven years.

The New York Times reports that in 2007, about 40 percent of managers in the United States were women. The number is up only slightly from 2000, when women accounted for 39 percent of managers. Women made up 49 percent of the workforce in both years. In 10 of the 13 industries studied, women accounted for a smaller proportion of managers than their proportion in the overall workforce of each industry. The three industries where women were more heavily represented in management than the general workforce were construction, public administration, and transportation and utilities.

The study controlled for influencing factors such as education and age in its research on the pay gap and also examined the gap in different industries, ensuring that it compared men and women who held similar jobs. It found, however, that the size of the gap varied among industries, with the smallest pay gap in the field of public administration. Female managers in this field earned 87 percent of what male managers were paid. The construction and financial services wage gaps were the largest, with female managers earning 78 cents for each dollar paid to male managers.

Across all 13 industries, women in full-time managerial positions earned 81 cents for every dollar earned by a male manager in 2007. However, female managers with children earned even less, making 79 cents for every dollar earned by male managers with children. The lower pay for women with children, referred to as the "motherhood penalty" by the Wall Street Journal, may be contributing to the fact that female managers are less likely to have children or be married than male managers. According to the study, 59% of female managers were married in 2007, compared to 74% of their male counterparts. Additionally, 63 percent of female managers were childless, compared to the 57% of male managers without children. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who requested the report, condemned the 'motherhood penalty.' "When working women have kids, they know it will change their lives, but they are stunned at how much it changes their paycheck," Maloney told the New York Times. "In this economy, it is adding insult to injury, especially as families are increasingly relying on the wages of working moms."

Media Resources: New York Times 9/27/10; Wall Street Journal 9/28/10