income inequality

Elle Readers Choose to Ignore Gender Wage Gap

Elle released its 2013 Power Survey earlier this week. Conducted in conjunction with the Center for American Progress (CAP), the survey polled men and women about work-related issues: asking for a raise, having a family, being the boss, and, of course, leaning in. The results, according to Elle, are “surprisingly positive.” But at least in certain respects, “surprisingly positive” seems to mean “startlingly oblivious.” Looking at the poll results, you’d think the gender wage gap was a thing of the past.

According to the survey, only 20 percent of men agree that they’d be paid less if they were female — meaning that 80 percent of men (and 69 percent of women) are blithely optimistic about the current state of the gender pay gap. In reality, wage data from the Center for American Progress confirms that on average women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes — a 23 percent wage gap that constitutes close to a $400,000 lifetime deficit for female workers. The CAP also reports that of the 534 occupations listed by the Bureau of Labor Statics, there are only seven professions in which women outearn men. The other 97 percent of professional women work in occupations where they earn less than their male counterparts. Recent studies even show that boys tend to have higher allowances than girls, even though they spend less time doing chores.

Elle notes that the persistent wage gap can be partially attributed to the fact that women often have less job experience than men, as they are more likely to leave the workplace or work part-time once they have kids.

Elle editor-in-chief Robbie Myers appeared on the Today show this morning to discuss the results of the survey, where she confirmed that the wage gap is “a real thing” that “still exists.” She also discussed some of the other dispiriting discoveries of the poll, particularly the fact that when asked why women don’t occupy the top jobs in business, 35 percent of men and 34 percent of women responded, “They’re not tough enough.”

“I think it’s unfortunate because, look, you work in a very competitive environment, and I do, too, and we are tough enough,” Myers told Today show host Savannah Guthrie. “I just think that’s part of the perception. It may be part of the perception of women in general, that we’re not tough enough.”

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