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Nurse Blog: Why Is a Woman's Salary Lower Than a Man's?

Nurse Blog: Why Is a Woman's Salary Lower Than a Man's?

Monster Nurse Blog

January 28, 2008

April 22nd is Equal Pay Day, and new research by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation shows that just one year out of college, women working full-time earn only 80 percent of their male colleagues’ salaries, even when they work in the same field. Ten years after graduation, the pay gap widens, with women earning 69 percent of what men earn.

The findings confound me. I’ve always attributed the gap primarily to women’s career tracks; they’re more likely to work part-time and take time out of the workforce to raise children. This study suggests I should think again. Even after adjusting for hours worked, occupation, parenthood and other factors known to affect earnings, the study found that one-quarter of the pay gap between men and women remains unexplained.


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I can’t help but think about my two nieces who will be enrolling in college in September. The sad fact is that no matter how well they perform, they’ll probably earn less than their male peers. Both my nieces are going to top-tier schools; one is attending one of the most competitive in the country. But the study reports that even women who attended highly selective colleges earn less than men from either highly or moderately selective colleges and about the same as men from minimally selective colleges.

The study says sex discrimination is at play. It must be. But I also wonder: Does strong academic performance suggest that young women have too strong a desire to please both in the classroom and at the negotiating table? Are we not instilling in our girls enough of a sense of their own worth?

No matter how I slice it, I come out deeply concerned, not only for our young women but also for our society as a whole. The fact is that in college, women outperform men — earning slightly higher GPAs than men in every college major, including science and mathematics. Imagine if we let them reach their potential outside the classroom. Now think about how we can make that happen.


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    JennImme

    about 4 years ago

    2 comments

    The difference? Men ASK, women don't.
    When I go for an interview after completing my online nursing schools degree, I usually know what I want. Sometimes I have been offered less. I ask for more. For the most part I get it. I was in satellite operations, a female, an EE...and the highest paid at my level. Women are afraid to rock the boat or ask for more. They are afraid they will jeopardize their chances.
    Men go for it.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    runningbear56

    about 4 years ago

    6 comments

    As a male nurse with more than 20 plus years of experience I've seen the gap in pay between male/female nurses. I've worked ifrom peds to geriatrics, ICU,CCU, and yes the salary difference is mind blowing especially since the majority of us are doing the same thing. I've been asked to be a charge nurse, but I prefer working on the floor since there are already too many males nurses in that area and management. I can tell you that I've butted heads with quite a few of them. Most of the time thier egos is bigger than their heads and they think they can do/tell you anything. I've always been told by my grandmother/mother who both were nurses to never let anyone push you around including them. Case in point where I currently work I found out that I was making more than $5/hr more than my female co-workers and we're doing the same amount of work and sometimes since there are only 2 male nurses on the day shift in my area and 4 females we usually end up with 5 patients versus 6 or 7 for the females. Need I say more? Unless you're in a union the pay gap is always going to be there. Bottom line pay should be based upon one's experience not their gender or how many degrees they have.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    DDxHellraiser...........that is bull. Men are still not that predominate in the field of nursing and having been an RN for longer than you've been alive, I've never called on a male nurse to do my lifting, transporting etc. Have I asked for help? Yes, but growing up in the nursing field it was almost always,until very recently, females who responded.
    This may be true in non union hospitals, but it is not true as far as wages in union facilities. Pay rates are mandated and followed by facilities as dictated through the nurses' contracts. Just because someone is male doesn't mean they make higher wages. Experience counts, not gender.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    about 6 years ago

    I think women aren't aggressive enough in demanding more money from their employers.

  • Lee-sad_max50

    DDxHellRaiser

    over 6 years ago

    6 comments

    Coming from a 23 y/o male currently going to college for RN then plan to go for a Doctorial (field not known now) but I believe us men get paid slightly more because its more physically demanding. We are able and are always called to lift the patients. To discuss more about it with me here is my mysopace. http://www.myspace.com/leeharden

  • Lasater_max50

    RNMissouri

    over 6 years ago

    8 comments

    In nursing, you have to negotiate your pay going in. I think, for good or ill, that men are likely to insist on a higher entry salary. And yes, low self esteem is rampant in women - assertive women are called a Bitch, and assertive men are called dynamic. The next job you apply for, try this: say you require a salary at least $1.00 per hour higher than what is being offered. You will be surprised how easy this is. Even for entry level RN positions, there is a salary range - not a fixed dollar amount.

  • Chewbaccarn_max50

    Yeti_RN

    over 6 years ago

    10 comments

    I did a paper on this in school and it was pretty surprising that even in a female dominated field such as nursing a male will most likely make more than their female counterparts. One possible reason why is that men get put in leadership roles sooner and more often than women so they get that extra couple of dollars for being charge nurse or they end up in management. I work on a floor that has quite a few men and they all have been put in charge as soon as possible whereas some females that have not and they have been there just as long as the men but have no interest in becoming charge so they don't get that extra buck or two. Men are also gravitate more towards critical care nursing which usually does pay more.
    I think one of the only things the union where I work has done a good job is keeping the pay equal among sexes. (I won't go into how a barely adequate nurse makes the same as an excellent nurse because the union)
    IMHO Women need to take more leadership roles and ensure that their is equal pay for all.

  • Photo_011907_001_max50

    dottylee2

    over 6 years ago

    6 comments

    OOPS contiinued from my last..... I started in the OR at the same time as another female RN who at the time had been an RN with more experience than I. I found she had been started @ $2.00/hr less than I. No wonder they don't want to discuss our pay!

  • Photo_011907_001_max50

    dottylee2

    over 6 years ago

    6 comments

    when I was younger I thought that having men join the nursing profession would boost our pay. I took a position at a local hospital close to where I lived at the time primarily due to the positive feedback & the pay a young male nurse fresh out of college with 6 months on the job. This male RN stated a starting wage with a 90 day pay increase (after satisfactorily completing orientation). Imagine my surprise when as an RN with 5 years experience I was told after successfully completing a 6 wk OR orientation and with 6 additional months on the job that there was no pay increase until after 1 year of employment with the usual 3%. During an "open forum" with the administrator I specifically asked about the pay/raise difference between my male counterpart & myself after everyone had left the meeting. I had previously discussed this with my surgical director with the above answer given. His response to me was that men & that young man in particular had a family to support. Of course, I countered that that was not acceptable as I was a single mother caring for 3 young children of my own. We both knew that this particular male RN was single living at home with his parents. To this day I have regretted that I did not ask the question in front of witnesses or have it recorded. Also, I believe as women they offer us less. I started in the OR

  • Dagmar_and_josie_max50

    jblack

    over 6 years ago

    78 comments

    I think this issue is deeply rooted. For instance, I am a professional nurse and certified in my field and my own father will tell you women have no business in politics or military. I recently heard that women nurse practitioners make less than male nurse practitioners.

  • Picture_052_max50

    Blessed904

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    as a nursing major myself, that fact does deeply upset me. Especially when I have work extremely hard and overcome many obstacles in my life and this seems like another on a long list.

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