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Women Still Earn Less Than Men

If you think women have shattered the glass ceiling, you'd better think again. The latest figures from the US Department of Labor show that in 1998, the weekly median wage for women ($456) who work full-time is only 76 percent that of men who work full time ($598). Meanwhile, a study released in June 1999 by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), found that 89 percent of human resource professionals believe women face barriers to career advancement.

Age had an impact on the figures. The salaries of younger women were 89 percent of that of their male counterparts, the study showed. In older age groups, the disparity was much greater. For workers ages 45 to 54, women's earnings were 70.5 percent of men's; for 55- to 64-year-olds, the earnings ratio was 68.2 percent.

Race influenced the salary differences, too. The earnings of black and Hispanic women were 86 percent of black and Hispanic men. However blacks and Hispanics as a whole earned less than their white counterparts.

Women who worked full-time in professional specialty occupations had weekly median earnings of $682, which was higher than the salary of women in any other group. Within that group, women who worked as doctors, lawyers and pharmacists had the top salaries. Women were less likely to be employed in higher-paying occupations such as engineers, software analysts and architects. In contrast, women who worked at wage and salary jobs paid by the hour earned an average median wage of $8.24 per hour. Details of the US Dept. of Labor study are available at .

In the study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, corporate cultures that favor men, stereotypes and preconceptions of women, lack of women on boards of directors, exclusion from informal networks, and the perception by management that family responsibilities will interfere with work were cited as the main barriers to career advancement.

Copyright 1999, Attard Communications, Inc.

About the author
Janet Attard is the owner of Attard Communications, Inc., which provides editorial content, online community and web development services. She is the founder of the award-winning  Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets.  She can be reached at (631) 467-6826 or by email at


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