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MoneyA 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 property tax cap hurts poor schools.

– The Robert Moses Parkway is a “noose around the neck of Niagara Falls.”

“Embeer Buffalo.”

15 Responses to Glass Whatever

  1. February 25, 2013 at 7:08 pm lellingw responds:

    You are right. Women are just paid less. Where is the ERA amendment?

  2. You know what is really good at closing the gap between men and women? Blacks and whites? Unions. In union shops the difference in pay between genders and races is non existent or miniscule.

  3. February 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm Edward Richards responds:

    Post fails to mention women who shatter the glass.
    Women who take sexism and slam it down on its face.

    Women like keirstun gillibrand, who make as much as 5 men combined. Women who do LESS and get paid MORE!

    As far as bosses, women are not only bosses, they are the executives, the owners, the decision makers and the breadwinners in todays society.

    This is the real world. This is 2013. What planet are you from?

  4. One needs to be careful when analyzing data. Using averages is the easiest means but probably does not tell the true picture. Do we really want to get to a point where we take away the incentive of improving one self to advance? Are we really going to keep score as to how many men advanced vs how many women? The real question is would a male and female nursing graduate ranked in the top of their class receive similar pay if hired at the same place at the same time? I don’t know myself, but I would tend to think they would.

    • February 25, 2013 at 9:08 pm Rachel Barnhart responds:

      I think it would show there’s still a disparity. The nursing study found even nurse anesthetists, who make six figures and are highly educated, still have a gender pay gap.

  5. Agreed

  6. Rachel, here’s your next story idea. If you really want all salary information to be public, than the same follows for New York State public pension information. A state court just ruled that the information needs to be “private.” Taxpayers apparently have no right to see just how their tax dollars are being spent. Outrageous. http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20130221/NEWS02/302210071/Appeals-Court-rules-keep-NY-teachers-pensions-private

    • February 26, 2013 at 8:10 am Rachel Barnhart responds:

      Agreed, it’s outrageous.

      And I don’t think all salary info should be public. I think there should be a better check on employers to ensure there’s no discrimination.

  7. February 26, 2013 at 1:10 pm Bob Lewis responds:

    There is a key sentence in the middle of the article that makes me wonder about he comparison.

    “Female nurses are more likely to work in doctor’s offices or schools,”

    Doctors offices and schools pay significantly less than hospitals. Without normalizing for those differences in working conditions the analysis may be slanted.

  8. Rachel, why is it outrageous? Why do you need to know the name of the person? Why isn’t a list of pensions sufficient? I don’t see the purpose of having the names, unless we are trying to create a scarlet letter or public shaming list. Do you really need the salary or pension linked to an individual? Isn’t the salary or pension number enough?

    You should lead by example Rachel. How much does WHAM-13 pay you? Your next post could be a list of your co-worker’s salaries.

  9. Maybe men are getting paid more because employers are fighting each other to attract men to work for them. They are only 10% of the field, so an employer looking to have a diverse staff might pay a little more to get that male nurse to accept a job here instead of with someone else.

  10. The fallacy of the pensions being public is that ‘it’s tax dollars, we have a right to know who gets how much’. It is NOT tax dollars. The day that member retired it was Pension moneys paid in over the course of that member’s employment along with profits from all other contributions collected paying that pension. The Pension is required to maintain enough funds at all times to cover all current retirees and employees future pensions if they all retired at the same moment and no new members ever joined or paid in. Therefore it is ‘old’ tax dollars that member is collecting and not any ‘new’ money being paid in. Call it what you want, but you can’t call it tax dollars once the person is retired and with that the right of the public to know who and how much should end. Disability pensions may have municipal portions and that share should (if collected) be public as they come directly from the municipality to the retiree.

  11. In other words, the day a member retires no gov’t agency collects monies in that member’s name nor sends any to Albany in that member’s name: so there is no ‘tax dollar’ assigned to that member as none were collected. The pension fund is dispersing money from a large ‘bank account’ (again not counting municipal disability portions). New contributions to the Pension are to cover current and future employees pensions.

  12. Why don’t we wait 10 years?

    10 yrs ago more males had college degrees and post college degrees vs women. Those men had reached the pinnacle of their earnings potential and are retiring daily now or have already retired. They, today make up most of the fortune 2000 senior executives, are more likely to have family business handed down to them and, males dominate all major sports and claim significant high dollar earnings over women in all those sport categories.

    But a story, of course not reported as much as the women vs men income discrepancies, is how many more women today are earning college degrees and post graduate degrees vs men. ITs now approaching 60% more women in undergrad degrees and even higher in post grad degrees. GEEE how great was it last year, that the UR boasted they had an all female specialists group in their med school?

    In 10yrs not only with the supposed (for no good reason) pay discrepancy go away .. but it will flip with women far out pacing men’s income.

    I will assume that the reasons given at that time will most likely seem logical, and not cause any out rage from social activists. Then it will be, well thats the way it is.

    And womens studies programs, whose sole purpose is to promote easy grades so women can get into and dominate law schools will still be pushing their gender discrimination agenda.

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