Gender discrimination in the workplace can have permanent financial consequences for affected workers, especially when it comes to the infamous wage gap. These consequences include delayed retirement, greater difficulty paying off student loans, and diminished consumer purchasing power.
Let’s discuss how the wage gap can delay student loans, as it’s a great example. According to the American Association of University Women, female professionals made 82 percent of men’s salaries one year after graduation in 2009. Both men and women were paying 8 percent of their annual income towards student loans. So let’s see how these numbers affect payments.
Let’s say Susie makes $38,000 a year working as a paralegal while James, with the same job, makes $44,840. Both have $32,000 in federal student loans at an interest rate of 6.8 percent. If we do the math, 8 percent of $44,840 is $3,587 dollars towards student loans each year. For Susie, she can only put $3,040 towards her student loan payments every year. Now, $547 may not seem like much, but it adds up each year, especially with compound interest on student loans (interest that adds on to the original balance).
Over the course of a 10-year repayment plan, Susie falls several thousand dollars behind James. Is that fair? Considering Susie will have less purchasing power to buy a car, home or save for retirement? In this case, the wage gap will delay several life milestones for Susie.
Is Gender Discrimination in the Workplace a Problem in California?
Fortunately, California has made progress in closing the wage gap. Last year, state lawmakers passed the California Equal Pay Act, which will help ensure women and men are paid equally if they have jobs with identical responsibilities. In California, Susie and James would have an equal opportunity to pay back their student loans.
The wage gap goes beyond sexism and can destroy innocent people financially. That is never acceptable. If you are experiencing gender discrimination in the workplace, it’s time to lawyer up and hold your employer accountable