Equal Pay Day is the prime time to recognize the income discrepancies between men and women in the workforce.
At face value, wage conditions seem to be getting better over time.
Companies have begun adopting salary transparency policies. There are laws in several states that are banning employers from asking potential hires about past earnings. And some states require that employers collect wage gap data in an effort to even the playing field.
Still, women continue to face workplace hardships such as fewer promotions, less support and implicit bias. They experience pregnancy discrimination, exclusion from the so-called “boy’s club” and sexual harassment.
On top of all that, they’re getting paid 80 cents on average for every dollar a man makes – a trend that’s expected to continue through the 23rd century.
Data suggests that these workplace adversities may have pushed a large share of female workers toward starting their own businesses in recent years.
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In December 2017, the National Women’s Business Council used the term “necessity entrepreneurship” to describe the phenomenon where women turn to business ownership as a solution to unfair workforce conditions.
At a rate of about 1,800 new businesses per day, they’re building a future working class ecosystem that’s radically different than the one seen today.
Starting a business offers women more work schedule flexibility, better control over their future and swifter career advancement.
However, there are still challenges.
Women founders who apply for bank loans receive about 31 percent less money than their male peers, according to a study released earlier this year by Biz2Credit, an online company that helps small businesses find lenders.
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Women who start their own businesses are most likely to enter the services sector, kickstarting hair salons, nail salons and cleaning firms, according to Biz2Credit.
Almost 20 percent of female business owners enter the service industry, 18 percent enter the retail trade and 14 percent start food companies, Biz2Credit found.
For women who work for others, their job satisfaction varies highly depending on the job that they have, according to the compensation, culture and career monitoring website Comparably.com.
While 70 percent of male executives are happy with their pay, just 57 percent of female executives feel the same. In the sales industry, 53 percent of men are just fine with their salaries while 37 percent of women say that they are paid fairly, according to Comparably, which derived its results from questions answered by more than 150,000 employees of all ages, educational backgrounds and ethnicities.
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The current wage gap becomes particularly detrimental when you look at how much less money women make over time compared to men.
Based on today’s wage gap, women earn $406,760 less than men over the course of a 40-year career, according to the National Law Center. Latinas earn $1,135,440 less than men, and black women receive $946,120 less over the course of a 40-year career.
And it’s even worse for minorities.
For Latinas, this lifetime wage gap totals $1,135,440, and for Black women, the gulf adds up to $946,120.
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Gender as a barrier
Both men and women agree that workplace gender issues occur more often in 2019 than they did in 2018, according to Comparably. Those sentiments could imply that there has been raised cultural awareness around gender inequities over the past year as #MeToo and Time’s Up movements sparked national conversations.
Still, more women say that gender has negatively affected their careers than men.
Women who work in the information technology field say they feel the most held back, Comparably found.
Fifty-four percent of women in IT and 53 percent of female engineers say they feel that their gender has resulted in career setbacks. By contrast, 25 percent of women in administration and 30 percent of women who have customer support jobs feel held back by their gender.
Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown