New Survey Finds Female Lawyers Hurt by Gender Pay Gap
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Summary: A new study has found that educated women are hurt significantly by the gender pay gap. 

Economists have proven that the gender pay gap is real, and it especially harms high-paid female professionals. That’s at least according to a left-leaning think tank called the Economic Policy Institute, which released the results of a study about the gender gap and why it exists.


“Women’s education attainment has increased disproportionately [to men’s], so now that women have comparable if not higher levels of education than men, what’s left — why is there still a gender wage gap?” EPI economist Elise Gould said to CBS News. “At the top end, you can think of the hours that women have to work, which can be harder on them because of the hours they have to put in at home.”

EPI’s study found that women and men are paid differently when doing the same work. The think tank controlled for frequently cited reasons for the gap, which include work experience and educational levels, and they found that it wasn’t women in low-paying fields that were hurt the most by the disparity. Instead, women in high-paying fields, women with children, older women, and women of color were the ones who experienced the most economic pain.

According to the study, educated professional women were paid 74 cents to their male counterparts’ dollar. However, women making low hourly wages were paid 83 cents to the male dollar. The study found that when men and women are in their 20s the pay gap is small, but over time, that gap snowballs, no matter the field. All in all, women lose almost $530,000 in their lifetime because of the gender pay gap, and professional women lose $800,000 in lifetime earnings.

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One reason for this pay gap in law firms could be because of what CBS News called “temporal inflexibility,” meaning companies demand a certain amount of hours in the office. For law firm associates, that means working 70-80 hours a week. This amount works for women without children, but for those who have kids and need more work-life balance, they are penalized with lower salaries.

“Outside the labor market, mothers are also charged a time penalty,” the EPI report stated. “For example, among married full-time working parents of children under the age of 18, women still spend 50 percent more time than men engaging in care activities within the home.”

Inversely, fatherhood does not negatively impact a man’s salary, according to the study.

The EPI report mirrors a gender pay gap study that Major, Lindsey & Africa conducted amongst law firm partners earlier this year. Major, Lindsey & Africa found that male partners on average make $949,000/a year while female partners bring in $659,000/a year. That equates to women partners making 69 cents for every male partner’s dollar, a rate worse than what the EPI reported for most educated women.

Source: CBS News

Photo courtesy of ThinkProgress

How do you think law firms can fix the gender pay gap? Let us know in the comments below. 


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