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It’s no secret. Nearly 50 years after the passing of the Equal Pay act, women make less money than men in the workforce. Some speculate that women are paid less because they take time out of their careers to raise a family.  This theory is becoming less and less true as more men decide to stay home. Instead of feeling sorry for myself and the possibility that I may make less money than my male coworkers… I decided to do a little research of my own to find the reason for this pay gap.

Knowledge@Wharton posted an enlightening article about the subject. A study was conducted on a recent group of MBA graduates. Researchers discovered that despite graduating with the same degree, men pursued higher paying jobs in the fields of finance and consulting where women chose lower paying jobs in marketing and general management. In all the selected fields, women and men had an equal chance to be hired. Wharton management professor Matthew Bidwell summed up the study results as follows:

“…It’s about changing perceptions of culture. You can imagine that if you have a job that is seen as highly macho and aggressive, and you recruit those kinds of people — mainly men — then these perceptions and stereotypes become self-fulfilling. It’s a much more insidious way in which jobs become gendered.”

Even though I have stumbled upon different theories why the gender salary gap exists, I have also realized this is a shrinking trend. More and more women are filling executive level positions at Fortune 500 companies.

Meg Whitman is former CEO of eBay and current CEO of Hewlett-Packer. In an interview with Fortune magazine Whitman said, “You’re not smart enough… it’s too hard… it’s a dumb idea… no one has done that before… girls don’t do that.’ My mom gave me that advice in 1973. And it allowed me to never worry about what others were saying about my career direction.”

There you have it, wage gap definitely still exists but with each year it becomes smaller and smaller. The percentage of executive positions held by women at large corporations is growing. By pursing higher paying corporate jobs that are predominately held by men, women will continue to shrink the pay gap.

 

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