Ask the Experts

Ladies Choice

Women’s liberation was before my time. Can I expect now equal treatment in any career I choose?

We selected your question because over half our readers need to learn the answer. However, the focus of the question must be broadened: 1) will you receive equality in every career you choose, and 2) do women choose to go into all careers? Simply, no. Let us explore the problem.

Equality means equal pay, for equal work. The gender gap for average U.S. earnings for women is 80% of earnings for men. In corporate America, you will have to search to find glaring cases of women working next to men, but being paid less, observes insider consulting firm. Federal legislation, lawsuits and employee activism have changed this during past decades. So, what explains the 20% earnings shortfall?

Our hopeful college student is looking forward to her career. What determines whether she will stumble into the gender gap or succeed? The first hurdle is choosing your college major.

The most popular college major is business, with an almost equal number of women and men. After that, the graphs and career paths diverge. Learn the abbreviation STEM, for Science, Technology, Engineering or Math. Or try, Shortfall Total Earnings of Men. The third and fourth most popular major for men includes engineering and computers. We cannot hire more women, if they do not submit resumes to us, concedes high-tech, press parts manufacturer. For women, these majors are not even on the list of top ten choices, Women still prefer education, not nearly as much as a generation ago, and health-related professions.

Are these choices from early childhood socialization? Girls and boys learn different expectations for their futures. There is also the status quo. Enter the classroom for STEM courses, and the majority of seats are filled with men. This has not stopped women from filling almost half the places in medical schools, proudly reflects Ms. Agarwal, a practicing dentist.

The National Council for Research on Women observed that women typically choose studies that have… “a positive social impact and work with others”. This choice isolates women from high-paying careers.

After graduation, another barrier impedes the career path of women. There is a marked difference in the type of jobs women pursue, from their male counterpart. Women often accept jobs earlier in the careers in administrative, clerical and support positions. Even in the high-end recruitment of MBA grads, women average less annual pay. Again, acceptance of lower-paying job titles is the factor.

In later years, salary advancement lags for women, in the same job title. This is a more troublesome statistic. Sociologists place part of the blame of negotiation skills and expectations.

Right now, the gender pay gap is stubbornly closing more slowly than in recent years. Is this cultural bias, where women are not equally recognized?

Hasbro stopped making the iconic Easy-Bake Oven last year.

Sam Shepard is a marketing specialist with digital marketing agency, Digital Next.