A study out today from the U.S. Census shows more men are becoming nurses. Ten percent of nurses are men, compared to 3 percent in 1970. Nursing offers job stability and a good living. Diversifying any profession is a good thing.
But the study had a dark side. It found male nurses make more money than their female peers. Full-time women earn 91 cents for every dollar earned by full-time men in the exact same occupation. (That’s better than the 77 cents women earn across all jobs.) The nursing pay difference is called the glass escalator effect. When men enter women-dominated fields, they tend to make more money and get promoted faster.
I’m so tired of experts coming up with reasons why women get paid less money than men. Women work fewer hours. They get pregnant. They are more focused on family. They are less ambitious. They pick bad jobs. They don’t negotiate well. They don’t play golf. They don’t smile enough. They’re not as competitive. They don’t play poker. They’re not assertive. They don’t know their worth.
I want to scream.
Women don’t need studies. They don’t need self-help books. They don’t need tips on getting a better salary. They need knowledge.
The only thing that will ensure women get paid fairly is if they know what their male colleagues earn. Most private employers do not make such information public. How on earth is a woman supposed to know she’s getting shortchanged without this key piece of information?
Discrimination in the workplace is a tough thing to prove, especially without concrete data. Women can’t confront their supervisors about pay equity based on a “feeling.” They’d likely be lied to, laughed at or told they’re paranoid. They’d be given a bunch of excuses for why they can’t get raises. The economy is bad. They’re not team players. They didn’t finish a project on deadline. They came in late to work one day last week. Who do you think you are, anyway?
We need some way – other than the courts – to hold employers accountable. Governor Cuomo wants a pay equity law. It may help women filing lawsuits against their bosses, but I doubt it will help the everyday woman when she looks her boss in the eye and asks for a raise.
Rochester Metro Area:
Average salary for man working full time year-round; $49,606
Average salary for woman working full time year-round: $38,374
Source: U.S. Census ACS 2009-2011
Links of the Day:
– College Town would have happened without massive taxpayer help.
– Cuomo is okay with legalizing small amounts of pot, but not medical marijuana.
– The Robert Moses Parkway is a “noose around the neck of Niagara Falls.”