The Network Newsletter
  Spring 2004  
 

 

In this Issue:

Dealing with Change

Career Corner:
Three-Quarters of a Bagel

Staff Awards Update

Moving Like Never Before in 2004!

New Women's Forum Officers

Questions for the Chancellor?

Career Corner: Three-Quarters of a Bagel
By Caprice Lantz, Assistant Director, University of Baltimore, The Career Center

Imagine you are standing in line at Chesapeake Bagel Bakery. The man in front of you orders a poppy seed bagel. He pays, and the cashier hands him a fresh warm bagel. You order your bagel. You pay and then you scratch your head as the cashier hands you a fresh warm bagel with a nice big bite taken out of it! Does the same feeling come over you when you get your paycheck? If not, it probably should!                                  

"Some researchers say equality at work between men and woman has been realized.”

Some researchers say equality at work between men and women has been realized. They quote studies that show that in certain fields the salaries of men and women are equal. They further claim that in fields where salaries are unequal, it is because of the choices that women make. i.e., a woman decides to stay home with her children for several years, which derails her career. Or a woman decides to become a teacher as opposed to an engineer and therefore will earn a smaller income in the long term.

What these researchers ignore is that while equal salaries can be found, they are in a few select fields and only under certain circumstances such as when women are childless. These few examples do not account for the continuing disparity in other fields. Studies from organizations like the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) show that while the wage gap is closing, it still averages about 75%, i.e., a woman makes about .75 cents for every dollar a man makes.

In terms of women making choices that lead to lower incomes, it is important to realize that choices are not made in a vacuum. Women make choices based not just upon personal preference, but societal influence. Although things are changing, society still expects and even encourages women more than men to put family first.  The result - women take lower paying more flexible jobs while men bring home the bagels.

Discrimination can also factor into career choices. Women still tend to pursue traditionally female dominated fields in part because they are not supported in male dominated fields. Women in nontraditional degree programs like engineering, for example, are minorities in these programs and often report being harassed by fellow students and sometimes even professors. In one study of women engineering students at the University of Maine, “women told story after story of discrimination and harassment.” While some women can handle it many more cannot and really, shouldn’t have to.

Often women are not taught to assert themselves in the same way as men. Women and society in general, tend to view assertiveness in women as aggressiveness. This lack of assertiveness can hamper career growth. For instance, men tend to negotiate salary when being offered a job and actively vie for promotions at work. Women, however, tend to take the salary offered and hope to be noticed and promoted.  

Don’t settle for of a bagel! Help continue to close the wage gap by staying abreast of the issues, encouraging awareness, and supporting appropriate legislation. On Tuesday, April 20th , the NCPE observed Equal Pay Day to raise awareness about unfair pay in America. Equal Pay Day is observed in April to indicate how far into each year a woman must work to earn as much as a man earned the previous year. Women across the country observed this day by wearing red to symbolize being in the red with regard to pay. They also sponsored activities like salary negotiation workshops and unhappy hours where participants were given of a donut or of a cup of coffee.  For more information on how you can get involved, visit the National Committee on Pay Equity at www.pay-equity.org/ .

 
 
USM Women's Forum: Enhancing the Status of Women in the
University System of Maryland

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