Based on its effect on the earnings gap between men and women, it may be more fitting to call the recession the Great Equalizer.
According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLR), women earned 82.8% of the median weekly wage in the second quarter of 2010. That’s a significant increase from the 76.1% that was reported during the same period a decade ago — and the highest percentage ever on record.
One key reason: Men have been losing jobs in manufacturing, construction and other industries at faster rate during the recession. Adding to the narrowing gap, more women tend to be employed in healthcare and government jobs — industries where job losses have been slow.
While the recession may have helped to accentuate the diminishing pay gap between genders, the trend has been taking place for years. Over the last 10 years, women have outperformed men in nearly every category in the workforce — including race, age and occupation.
One major increase: From 2000-2009, women ages 35-44 saw a wage increase of 11.5% (after inflation), whereas men of that age group only realized increases of 1.2%.
Readers, weigh in. Do you feel the wage between genders at your company has narrowed? Let us know in the Comment section.