The Surprising Solution to the Equal Pay Problem
Occupational segregation by gender contributes to a stubborn wage gap. It has kept women making less than men, per dollar, and still limits their access to well-paid jobs that don’t necessarily require higher education. According to Closing the Skills Gap: On-Ramp Occupations to Middle-Skilled Jobs for Women Workers, an Institute for Women’s Policy Research study commissioned by JPMorgan Chase & Co.:
WOMEN MAKE UP A MERE 3 PERCENT OF WORKERS IN WELL-PAID, MIDDLE-SKILL CONSTRUCTION JOBS.
The report also found that while women make up 83 percent of workers in middle-skill jobs that pay less than $30,000 a year, the number drops steeply to 36 percent for growing, middle-skill jobs that pay at least $35,000 a year, a disparity that can have significant long-term economic implications. Ariane Hegewisch, who co-authored this report as well as a prior study on occupational segregation and the gender wage gap, knows that in addition to being unfair in principle, those disparities have macro-scale economic effects. Occupational segregation, she notes, “slows down how much the economy can grow and how quickly you can respond to new opportunities. … It’s as if having occupational segregation means that the economy is under-oiled.”