Today is Equal Pay Day, and while it may seem like strides have been made to close the wage gap, statistics show that isn’t exactly the case. Statistics from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) shows that, by 37, women have already missed out on almost $200,000.
And this next stat is even more alarming. By age 60, a woman’s lost wages will add up to almost $1 million.
All of this is proof that it isn’t about the avocado toast or lattes, women are still the victims of a pay gap that’s dangerously affecting. A survey from Lean In found that 1 in 3 Americans are not aware of the gender pay gap, and that men are almost twice as likely as women to think it doesn’t exist. On average, women in the U.S. are paid 20% less than their male counterparts. For women of color, those numbers are even worse. Compared to white men, black women are paid 38% less and Latinas are paid 46% less.
And the problem isn’t just in the United States. A report from British companies on their gender pay gap found that fashion and beauty brands, in spite of being predominantly focused on female consumers, are some of the worst offenders. Condé Nast reported a mean gender pay gap of 36.9%. In a statement the company published explaining the gap, they attributed it to men occupying senior leadership roles.
Other companies also had some explaining to do. Benefit Cosmetics revealed a 30.7% median hourly pay gap, in spite of women comprising more than 90% of each pay quarter. Burberry is made up of 70% women, and yet there’s a 26% pay gap in favor of men. Prime Minister Theresa May called the pay gap a “burning injustice” and said that society would remain “poorer” if things stayed unchanged.
On top of everything else, there’s also, as a recent Refinery29 article explained, the “predator tax” or the sexual harassment that women experience in the workplace that leads to them leaving their jobs and, in some cases, taking pay cuts in their new positions.
In an interview with Fortune, Natasha Lamb, the managing partner of Arjuna Capital, talked about how she’s convinced 21 companies, from Apple to Starbucks, to close the pay gap. She explained how it doesn’t just make sense for the rights of women, it makes business sense too.
“So while equal pay is not the only structural barrier for women in the workplace, it’s an essential one and actually ranked as women’s top concern,” Lamb said. “If companies can manage pay equity effectively, their ability to attract and retain women goes up. And that’s in service of drawing from 100% of the talent pool, creating a more robust diverse leadership pipeline and reaping the benefits that that diversity affords.