Women & Money: The Gender Wage Gap Could Cost You $2 Million

The financial consequences of working while female add up to many missed opportunities

For all of us who are guilty of WWF (working while female) we already know we earn less then men with the same job. Studies show that on average women earn 77 cents for every male dollar, and while that may not sound so bad in and of itself, have you ever wondered what that could add up to over your lifetime?

Well, as I was preparing a talk for a women’s organization this week, I asked myself that very question, and I was surprised but not shocked at what I found. According to the article “Gender Wage Gap: Are you paid as much as a man if he had your job?” by Evelyn Murph, the president of the WAGE Project; and E.J. Graff, a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center; here is what the gender wage gap could end up costing you:

• If you’re a young woman who graduated last summer from high school, you will earn $700,000 less than the young man standing in line with you to get his diploma over your working life.

• If you graduated from college, you’ll lose $1.2 million compared to the man getting his degree along with you.

• If you graduated from law school, medical school, or got an MBA last summer, you’ll lose $2 million over your lifetime.

So you may be asking, why worry about this issue now? It has been this way since the beginning of time. Well, call me the eternal optimist, but I believe that just because something has always existed one way that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to continue that way. And, until you recognize a problem and it hits home, there isn’t much incentive to fix it. So consider this, the missing money in your paycheck represents food you can’t buy, credit cards you can’t pay off, lessons your children won’t have, and retirement savings that you will never have the opportunity to enjoy. So this is not just one woman’s problem, it belongs to all of us.

My question of the week: Why do you think the gender wage gap exists? Here are some explanations that have been given over the years. The gender wage gap exists because:

• Women aren’t as well educated as men

• Women leave the workforce to have babies

• Women choose low paying jobs

• Discrimination

What you think? Do you agree or disagree with the explanations above and what we should do about it? Remember, our actions today will not only affect us, but the generations of women that come after us. Ouch!

P.S.: I am looking for a select group of women who are interested in becoming more active in the Women & Money blog – women to participate in discussion groups, surveys, and polls so that we can keep the journey both interesting and relevant for you. If you are interested, please visit www.WiseWealthyWomen.com and sign up or email me at ps@mindingyourmoney.net.

Patricia Stallworth, CFP® and CDFA, is the president of PS Worth, a financial education company, the author of Minding Your Money, and the host of the Minding Your Money Minute™. Learn more by visiting MindingYourMoney.net.

ACROSS THE WEB
  • Karen Rozier

    I offer the following:
    - Men ask for more money whereas women ask for perks.
    - Men are more willing to negotiate over money.
    - Men are less likely to leave for personal reasons but more likely to leave for money.
    - Women are more likely to take personal leave, giving men more face-time.
    - Women are too emotional and our voices are often at a pitch not easily discernible. Hard to be heard above the din.
    - Women w/ MBAs are more likely to go into the soft fields like HR than hard-core finance or sales.
    - Women like to share the credit and the rewards.
    - And yes, women leave to have babies.

    BSEE/MSIA/MBA/MPA/DBA(abd)

  • fight 4 EQUALITY

    I agree with the comment Karen Rozier made completely. she understands more about the “wage gap” then the person who wrote the article (a feminist)
    men also take up more dangerous type of jobs, work longer hours, get to work on time more often according to statistics so the “wage gap” is a misrepresentation of information.
    One question you must ask yourself is; as a business owner why would you want to ever hire a man over a women if she is willing to take a pay cut ??
    Also another thing is women are most likely (more then men) to try and sue the place in witch she works for at times financial gain since there are loop holes in the law where you only as a female need to say you are a victim without proving it…. many banks for example have had to fight meaningless court battles that later turns out it was a “mistake in her part” … also men in society are expected to pay for dates and valentines the ring the outings, rent and sometimes everyting etc and many women want nothing to do with a low earner even though men do not care if a women even makes any money. sooo dare i say that for the sake of men having more societal pressures to earn more money that it could explain why statistics shows they earn more? you know after all who pays child support more often? who pays more state taxes to fund the very female populated welfare and other female programs. a women can be taken care of by the gov for having a baby a man cannot so ofcourse they (men) as a whole will make more money.. one thing men wont ever have is as many rights as women do (women have much more) go to college and see if you see any male gender studies group nope infact for every 200 female gender impowerment class their is 1 class for guys and it gets alot of heat from women who say its trying to take over women??? 1 class over 200 is a bad thing for women? yeah sure.. feminism is no longer equality and the wage gap is a myth created for the sake of keeping an organization around for greed not for need.
    how many women save every penny to buy luxery cars to impress the boys?? they dont have to how many men are valued at the car they drive? think about that for a sec before the feminist in you comes out waving sticks and stones and wage gaps down peoples throat through this article. im not a fathers rights activist i believe thats too one sided in a way not that i dont agree they should have equal privillege with children not just financial obligation in divorce but equal time spent with children if they are willing to relocate near the child or vise versa but im def not a one sided feminist who believes everything they have been indoctrinated with by friends and media im an equalist yes that the correct word for equality not feminism the term was defined in the dictionary by the feminist themselves wich is subjective but i am an EQUALIST and that can never be subjective if equality is your true main concern.
    its not “im a feminist because i believe in equality” its ” im an equalist because i believe in equality for everyone that even includes animals and all other living things”.
    i wont be on this page anymore so so sorry if anyone messages me or replies to this comment i probably wont be able to reply back