During the 2018 Golden Globes, women in Hollywood gathered to the red carpet to state that "time's up" when it came to sexual harassment and gender inequalities. But it's not just prominent in Hollywood, it's prominent everywhere and could not be more represented in the gender pay gap that still frustratingly exists. The struggle to close this gap has been a problem for decades and the solutions to fix it clearly haven't been enough. In fact, there's still such a disparity that new research has found that women need an extra degree to earn the same salary as men doing the same job.
In the workforce, women are capable of doing the same things as men are — and when they have the same level of education, one would expect that they would be paid the exact same. It's really a no-brainer. But with the gender pay gap, this isn't exactly the case. In a new report titled "Women Can't Win," researchers at Georgetown University found that a woman needs one more college degree than her male peers to earn the same exact salary as them, according to ABC News.
Even if a woman had the same exact degree from the same college as their male coworkers, according to Fortune, the study found that they would still need one more degree to even get on the same level of pay — women who have a bachelor's degree earn the equivalent of a man with a two-year, or an associate's degree. Can you sense a problem?
Nicole Smith, one of the reports' co-authors told ABC News:
Women have been sold a false sense of promise that education is a solution or a pathway to opportunity. Instead, significant barriers still prevent women from earning the same as a man who is equivalently qualified. The data shows that if you look at women with a bachelor's degree and the average salary they're making, women can earn just as much as a man with an associate's degree.
In the United States, women make about 80 percent of what men make, according to the American Association of University Women. While the gap has narrowed since the 1970s, this gap is still incredibly wide — especially since, according to the AAUW, women aren't expected to reach pay equity until 2059, or another 41 years. A Pew Research report in 2017 found that women would have to work an additional 44 days to earn what their male counterparts did.
If women want to close this gap, the study found that they should not only consider that second degree but they should pick majors that pay well (such as majors in the STEM field), consider getting a graduate degree, and negotiate their first paycheck among other things. But it's frustrating that women even have to consider these factors before even entering college, work twice as hard, and do twice as much to even achieve of bridging this pay gap.
Getting another degree costs a lot of money. The average college student that graduated in 2016 left school with $28,773 in debt, according to U.S. News & World Report. The average tuition to attend a private college in 2017 was over $34,000 a year. Not only is it super costly for women to go back to college, but spending four years to get another bachelor's degree or two years in a master's program takes a lot of time and hard work. It's hard to come to terms with the fact that women would have to invest twice as much into their educations just to earn the same salary. It's a backwards, vicious cycle.
While this report might bring up feelings of despair, especially since it might now seem like bridging the gender pay gap is almost impossible, Smith told ABC News that this report should serve as motivation. "It's more-so a wakeup call for women to be proactive about how much they earn, about salary negotiations, and to recognize their congressperson when they make decisions about equal pay," Smith said.
She's right. This should serve as a wakeup call to everyone to let them know just how bad the gender pay gap is. While it's known that women make less than men, the fact that they have to go into debt and work twice as hard as them is alarming. This study only shows that time is up and these findings are things that people should be holding conversations about.
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