What if: Women got paid the same as men?

This is the start of a new series, titled What If…? In our first series, we look at what might happen if women got paid the same as men for equivalent work.

In 2020, women earned 83 cents to every dollar earned by men.

Megan Wisniewski, census.gov

That’s a powerful difference. Just think if women got paid the same as men. Women live longer than men, and earning 17% less means their ability to live better and save for retirement is greatly diminished. Because their incomes are lower in their lifetimes, their Social Security will be lower too. Unjust. If a man made $30,000, a woman might be expected to make $24,900. That’s a huge difference for equivalent work. In the quest for ethical and sustainable capitalism, this wide gap needs to be addressed. We are slowly moving the boundaries.

Equal Pay Day — timed to represent how far into the year women must work to equal what men earned the previous year — is on March 15 this year. That’s earlier than it’s ever been since its inception in 1996. Last year, it occurred on March 24.

Megan Wisniewski, census.gov
A powerful Tableau visualization showing the Gender Pay Gap. District of Columbia, Utah, and Wyoming have the largest gaps, more than $15,000 between men and women!

What are two things that can be done to address the gender gap?

  • Make the salary and commission ranges for all positions known from the beginning. Companies hate doing this. They expect workers to apply for a job, spend time and interview, and if they get the offer, surprise, we’re going to lowball you. Sounds backwards to me. Ask up front what is the range for the role. People will decide if the role meets their needs.
  • Businesses should do frequent analysis and determine if women and men are paid differently for the same position. Perhaps every quarter or every 6 months, the salaries for both groups could be “trued up” and equalized. Some companies do a similar analysis comparing roles against industry competitors. Recruiters tell me finding qualified people is hard. Workers motivated to stay in the job is better than finding and training new people at a higher cost. Why do we need to switch positions to achieve our full potential? Another opportunity missed.

Our role is to move towards the ideal, as we aim for rewarding, sustainable, and ethical capitalism. We can’t aim there if we don’t know where we are going. Hope you enjoyed the first of our What If series!

Sincerely yours,


Published by smilingdad

My story is one of tragedy and redemption. We've made many mistakes along the way regarding our money. Our goal here is to show you how to take care of your money life long, and as much as we can, help the Earth along the way. I call it sustainable personal finance and ethical capitalism. Currently, I am a part time writer for Cleantechnica and part-time licensed financial professional, along with being a full-time dad.

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