March is Women’s History Month. From politics to business and even sports, there are women excelling in 2021. Consider Kamala Harris, the first female vice president in the nation; Amanda Gorman, the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate; and Sarah Thomas, the first woman to officiate as referee in the Super Bowl. But there is still work to be done and some serious pandemic-related issues to consider.
So much has changed in the last year due to COVID-19 that it’s hard to say what the near future holds for women in the workforce. In fact, in a staggering statistic, women have accounted for almost 56% of workforce exits since the pandemic started.
The month of March played host to International Women’s Day to increase awareness on gender equality, and Business.org has released a study on how we’re doing with equality in the workplace with an emphasis on the gender pay gap.
The study found that Michigan ranks No. 37 for the smallest gender pay gap. But just because the state is doing better than the others doesn’t mean the gap isn’t significant. The average woman in Michigan’s workforce experiences an industry pay gap that is 22% less than their male counterparts. That means women effectively stop getting paid Oct. 13, according to the study.
Overall, yes, the report shows that the pay gap has decreased over time. However, in the last decade, we’ve been at a bit of a stall.
Industries with the largest pay gap include legal occupations, medical scientists, financial managers, first-line supervisors of housekeeping and janitorial workers, and credit counselors and loan officers.
It is interesting to note that there are some industries where the pay gap favors women.
Female producers and directors make 106% of what their male counterparts are paid, for example.
But we’re not in Hollywood.
Recent forecasts from McKinsey and Oxford Economics estimate that employment for women may not recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. That’s two years after the predicted recovery for men.
It’s difficult to predict that progress on the gender gap will be a priority for businesses as they work through the next several months and years to recover from the pandemic. What’s certain is there needs to be emphasis on bringing women back to the workforce in general, whatever it may take.