The last decade has seen tremendous efforts to close the gender gap that exists across a myriad of industries. From widespread campaigns to concrete policies – on the outside, it seems that businesses are doing their part to shrink the gap. However, a significant difference still exists, with CNBC reporting that 8 of 10 companies have a gender pay gap that favours men over women.
A gender gap harms everyone, as it limits opportunities and creates a culture of inequality across a multitude of industries. This gap and its negative effects are especially felt in the male-dominated industries listed below.
Research that draws from driver data in England and Wales debunks the harmful stereotype that women can’t drive. It goes a little further to prove that women are actually better at handling cars than men. So, why doesn’t this translate in the automotive industry? An article on the New York Post notes that women only make up a quarter of the jobs in the automotive industry. This is bound to change, since times are different for the once physically taxing automotive industry. As the industry continues to embrace automation, one can only expect that automotive companies will welcome capable minds, regardless of gender.
Women in the legal industry have a difficult time getting people to take them seriously. Forbes reports that female lawyers are more likely to be interrupted, put in charge of office admin work, and are generally given fewer important tasks. This bias is evident as well in the wide pay gap that exists in key roles in the industry. Case in point, Special Counsel’s guide to the role of a defence attorney documents that the average salary for those with five to ten years of experience is £55,042. This is in stark contrast to The Balance’s report on the gender wage gap in the legal profession – a lowly £38,118 for women in similar positions and comparable experience. The popularity of icons like human rights lawyer Amal Clooney is likely just part of the first few steps in a long journey to gender equality in the legal industry.
While this year has seen rising stars like Katie Bouman in astrophysics, the industry still remains largely dominated by men. A study published on PLOS Biology details how it will take 131 years to close the gender gap in this area. With women still undermined in the scientific community, it’s not surprising that it will take over a hundred years to shrink the gap. In the meantime, aspiring female astrophysicists can draw inspiration from Katie’s perseverance in a field where not a lot of women succeed.
Although healthcare benefits from several female nurses, physicians, caregivers, workers, and consumers – it’s an industry with a glaring gender gap. The percentage of women on Fortune 500 healthcare executive teams has stood at 22% since 2015. This lack of representation in leadership roles shows in the pay gap that exists in the most influential companies around the country. For instance, private care home provider Vida Healthcare only pays women 21p for every £1 that men earn. While efforts to improve workplace culture in healthcare are happening on the ground, no real change can be expected until there are enough female voices in leadership.
All in all, more has to be done to address the bias against women in the workplace. Whether this is in the form of closing the wage gap or getting more females in positions of power – it is a battle that must be fought on several fronts. Both individuals and companies have the task of not only being aware of this discrimination, but of actively being a part of trying to change perspectives and policies that enable it.
Article was written by Melanie Sparks, a travelling marketing consultant who is passionate about bringing women to the forefront of their fields. When she’s not hopping from one place to another, you’ll find her reading her favorite magazines in a quiet coffee shop.