As more than 100 college and university women’s and men’s basketball teams rev up for this year’s March Madness, we root for our home teams and hope for clean, fair play. Last year, we invited you to join AAUW in using gender equality to guide your bracket selections; and this year, we are at it again! It is disheartening that women coaches are still so significantly underpaid compared with their male counterparts. Plus, all the coaches for men’s sports teams are still paid more — often significantly more — on average than coaches for women’s sports.
The American Gaming Association estimates that about 40 million people will fill out more than 70 million brackets predicting the outcome of this year’s “big dance.” That’s more brackets than votes that President Barack Obama received in the 2012 presidential election! Imagine if just 10 percent of those 70 million brackets followed our model. That would be around 7 million people across the country engaging on the value of fair pay policies. Take a stand for basic fairness by supporting schools that treat women and men’s sports equitably.
Betting on schools with smaller gender pay gaps is also a great way to promote one of the NCAA’s stated values: a commitment to an inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student athletes and career opportunities for coaches and administrators from diverse backgrounds.
AAUW’s salary showdown brackets predict the victors of the women’s and men’s championships by calculating the gap between the average head coach salary for women’s and men’s teams at each school in the tournament and then advancing the school with the smaller gender pay gap to the next round.
According to our brackets, we are once again sporting red and blue in honor of the University of Dayton. In both the women’s and men’s brackets, the University of Dayton comes out victorious. At Dayton, the salaries women’s sports head coaches earn are, on average, 93 percent of what men’s sports head coaches earn.
If our brackets play out, Dayton, an 11 seed in the men’s bracket and a 7 seed in the women’s bracket, would achieve the feat of securing the men’s and women’s championships concurrently. Though Dayton is the only school to be in the final four for both of our salary showdown brackets, by our count 22 teams — out of the men’s 68 total and the women’s 64 total — are in both brackets.
More about our method: Our analysis includes head coach salaries across all sports, not just basketball. We divided the average annual institutional salary per head coach of all women’s teams by the same measure for all men’s teams at the same school to determine the gap. All average salary data used is available through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.
Because the Department of Education data includes all head coaches, football coaches, who often garner the largest salary at an institution, are part of the calculation. Even with that caveat, the comparison still illustrates a school’s relative investment in women’s sports versus men’s sports. (Note: Our winner, Dayton, has a football program.) Bear in mind that most NCAA sports programs rely on subsidies to balance their budgets, some to the tune of several million dollars. College sports almost always lose money, but some schools do a much better job of paying their coaches equitably.
Men’s bracket breakdown: Our analysis predicts a lot of upsets. If our brackets played out, all the men’s number 1 and number 2 seeds, all but Notre Dame of the number 3 seeds, and all the number 4 seeds would lose their first games. Joining Dayton in the final four are Davidson (73 percent pay gap), Hampton (68 percent pay gap), and Harvard (63 percent pay gap).
Women’s bracket breakdown: We predict further upsets for the women’s bracket. No number 1 seeds and just Tennessee of the number 2 seeds would progress beyond the first game. None of the number 3 seeds and only California of the number 4 seeds would progress beyond round one as well. In the women’s final four, we have Dayton, Princeton (91 percent pay gap), American (85 percent pay gap), and Florida Gulf Coast (76 percent pay gap).
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‘Tis the season to be scared. From horror films and costumes to jack-o’-lanterns and ghost stories, Halloween is never short on surprises. But while the holiday celebrates the spooky, every day women face scary circumstances. Ghouls, goblins, and graveyards may seem frightening, but the statistics on women’s equality reflect a reality far scarier than whatever comes out to haunt on Halloween.
Which is scarier?
The pay gap affects women of all backgrounds, but unsurprisingly, race and ethnicity matter when it comes to women’s paychecks. Hispanic and Latina women face the worst disparity, getting paid only 54 percent of what white men get paid.
Despite the higher salaries and greater prospects for employment for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, the pipeline continues to be dominated by men. Among the computing and engineering fields, which account for 80 percent of STEM jobs, women represent less than one-quarter of the workers.
The 2012 election cycle proved significant for women; they bolstered their political representation in Congress to an all-time high. Yet there’s still not even one woman for every five men in Congress.
While we’ve seen small but steady gains in women’s representation in national office, progress among state leadership has been meager. Only 35 women have served as state governors, and 24 states have never elected a woman to the governor’s seat. Several of these states have a chance to make history in the election next week, including Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
So much for America being a leader in feminist progress. In its most recent Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum ranked the United States 60th among 136 countries for women’s political empowerment. The ranking places the United States behind India, China, and Uganda for women’s equality in political leadership.
Partly due to the shame, stigma, and fear associated with reporting a sexual assault, more than half of sexual assaults since 2009 went unreported. The likelihood of reporting is even lower on college campuses. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act seeks to reconcile this problem by requiring colleges and universities to create transparent prevention programs that deter violence while encouraging more victims to come forward.
Despite representing more than half of professional-level jobs, women’s leadership within the boardrooms of America has stagnated in recent years. Among the Fortune 500, women lead only 4.6 percent of companies. Investing in women’s talent and nurturing women’s self-confidence are two methods for fostering greater opportunities for women to move up the leadership ranks (not to mention reaping the benefits of women’s perspectives).
A 2009 study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research revealed that among 22 countries highly ranked in economic and human development, the United States is the only country that does not guarantee workers paid sick days. This means that more than 22 million working women lose money when they must miss work for an illness.
Because women are often primary caregivers, a child’s illness frequently means that the mother is the one who misses work to care for the child. Unfortunately, for half of working mothers, that time is unpaid.
Those who say the fight for women’s rights is over need only look at these two numbers: In the past year alone, more than 468 bills related to restricting women’s health and access to reproductive rights have been introduced in state legislatures. Shockingly, zero restrictions regarding men’s bodies have been brought to the floors of statehouses.
This post was written by AAUW Development Associate Bethany Imondi. AAUW Senior Designer Alli VanKanegan contributed to the post.
“A humbling and learning experience.”
That’s how Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella characterized the aftermath of his remarks on women and pay raises. And it’s the kind of experience I hope the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) communities continue to have—the sooner the better.
Employers and senior leaders in the science and tech industries need to recognize the barriers that women in the workforce face when it comes to fair pay, promotions, or simply getting their foot in the door.
Just look at the engineering and computing workforce, where employers can little afford to miss out on the competitive advantage efficient and engaged employees bring. More than 80 percent of all STEM jobs are in these fields, yet women make up just 25 percent of the computing workforce and 14 percent of the engineering workforce. The number of African American, Hispanic, and Native American women is even more discouraging.
From seventh grade science classes to doctorate programs for mathematics, women are told they do not belong in STEM, despite the fact that some of these industries were literally invented by women. Yet, stereotypes about women’s abilities persist, to pervasive negative effect. Studies have shown that when students are told that men are better than women at a skill, the men will outperform women on the subsequent test of that skill. However, when test takers are told that men and women perform equally well in that same skill, the test results even out. In some cases, the women even outperform the men.
Who knew that when we tell girls that math is too hard for them or push women toward pink-collar jobs, they might actually listen? The few who still pursue STEM despite these societal messages find themselves in a chilly climate. A recent survey of 700 women who left the tech industry found that the work environment—not the work itself—chased women out the door.
“Literally 28 of the 30 people in our company were white, straight men under 35,” one front-end developer said in the survey. “I was the only woman. I was one of only two gay people. I was the only person of color other than one guy from Japan. My coworkers called me Halle Berry. As in, ‘Oh look, Halle Berry broke the website today.’ I’m pretty sure for some of them I’m the only actual black person they’ve ever spoken to. Everyone was the same, and no one was like me. How could I stay in that situation?”
And then there’s the wage gap. Yes, even in the high-paying worlds of engineering and computing, women take home smaller paychecks than their male counterparts. A typical male aerospace engineer took home just over $100,000 in 2011, while his female counterpart was paid $83,000. The difference between their salaries could pay off student debt or make a down payment on a house.
Dismantling the barriers women face in these fields is well worth it. Careers in STEM offer promising prospects: challenging and rewarding work in some of the highest-paying careers. These opportunities should be available to women.
But getting more women into STEM fields isn’t only the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. The solutions of this century are likely to come when we tap 100 percent of the population. A diversity of perspectives and approaches will encourage a flourish of innovation and creativity. What company doesn’t want that?
Nadella’s apology offers a glimmer of hope for these industries. “My advice underestimated exclusion and bias — conscious and unconscious — that can hold people back,” he wrote in an internal company memo. “Any advice that advocates passivity in the face of bias is wrong. Leaders need to act and shape the culture to root out biases and create an environment where everyone can effectively advocate for themselves.”
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A thousand times, yes. Companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Yahoo have all publicly acknowledged that they have a problem recruiting, retaining, and ensuring that women thrive within their walls. Now we can start moving toward solutions. Businesses can proactively conduct salary audits to monitor and address gender-based pay difference. They can offer paid family leave and personal medical leave. CEOs and senior leadership can educate themselves about stereotypes and biases and take steps to actively recruit women and address chilly workplace climates.
In research to be released early next year, my colleagues at AAUW will shed more light on the hows, whys, and now-whats behind women’s underrepresentation in computing and engineering. Until then, we hope the conversation around women in STEM continues to be a humbling and learning experience that brings real change for women in these fields.