According to Aaron Bernstein writing in Business Week, a recently released government study issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that women on average earn an average of just 77% of men’s compensation today. As bad as this figure is, Bernstein explains that reality is far worse. Bernstein reveals that the government only reports on earnings of women who worked full time for an entire year. Bernstein cites another study in which the earnings of all women were examined, including those working part-time or those who worked less than a full year. This study, which covered a multi-year period, showed that women actually earn approximately 44% of the amount earned by their male colleagues.
Bernstein explains that discrimination accounts for only ten percentage points of the pay parity. The real problem lies with the norms of society, which many employers adopt subconsciously. A majority of men and women still work in segregated occupations. Bernstein reports that this often leaves women working in jobs that have traditionally been low paying. In addition to employment, women often bear the burden of family responsibilities more than men do. Employers have yet to find a good way to integrate family life and the responsibilities of women in most households as the primary caregiver with a work environment. It has been suggested that about the only way women will get equal treatment and receive equal pay is if they can ignore their family responsibilities. However, many women choose to work part-time or in less demanding positions because doing so gives them the flexibility and time necessary to care for family members.
Choices for working women are complicated. For women interested in advancing their careers, this choice is often complicated by a lack of affordable, reliable, safe and nurturing day care or after school care for their children. Most companies do not provide any on site childcare for a variety …