Economy, Pay Gap

The gender pay gap shrank in 2020, but not because companies started paying women more

The gender pay gap shrank in 2020, but not because companies started paying women more

9/16/2021 6:38:00 PM

The gender pay gap shrank in 2020, but not because companies started paying women more

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the figure"corresponds with a decrease of about 13.7 million full-time, year-round workers" and that some people may have moved to part-time as the number of workers overall dropped by roughly a smaller 3.0 million in 2020. Median earnings for total workers dropped by 1.2% from 2019 to 2020.  

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Companies can take steps toward closing the pay gap  Some women may have left the labor force for good. As of August 2021, over1.6 millionwomen who are at least 20 years old have left the labor force since February 2020, right before the start of the pandemic. That means they're not working or actively looking for work.

Jasmine Tucker, director of research at the National Women's Law Center, told Insider she's worried about the pay gap in the years to come. Because women have been out of work, she said, they might take the first job offer even if it doesn't pay well. She added that"they might be less willing to negotiate the salary or any of the other benefits in that job because they won't want to lose the offer."

At the national level, Tucker said policies and actions like raising the federal minimum wage, passing thePaycheck Fairness Act, and strengthening equal pay laws are critical.She added companies can also implement changes like raising wages and offering paid family and medical leave so employees don't have to make the choice between work and caring for someone or their own health.

Pardue told Insider in an email"flexibilityis key to closing the pay gap and keeping women in the workforce." "Flexibility in the professional services sector — in the form of paid sick leave, flexible scheduling, remote work, and greater access to childcare — has gone a long way in keeping women in the workforce," Pardue said in an email."That type of flexibility should be accessible to women across industries and sectors."

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