Moving America Forward

Could Making Salaries Public End the Gender Pay Gap?

May 19, 2014
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Could Making Salaries Public End the Gender Pay Gap?
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
The New York Times may have canned Jill Abramson over a pay issue. Perhaps this could have fixed it.

Journalism circles are abuzz with speculation about why the first woman to take arguably the most prominent role in the industry was, by all accounts, fired with little fanfare last Wednesday for her two-and-a-half years of service.

One of the possible reasons provided for this unexpected dismissal: Jill Abramson may have asked too many questions about pay parity. But one writer has a possible solution to this troubling situation facing females — more salary transparency.

The oft-studied gender pay gap has become a touchstone in the modern workplace. As more women graduate college and demand job parity, they want (and deserve) equal pay, too. It’s not just a philosophical debate, but one that impacts families, poverty rates, and a host of socio-economic issues.

More: Ask the Experts: The Pay Gap Explained

Experts have suggested that flexible work schedules and pay scales that depend on output — not hours logged at a desk — could rewrite the pay equity debate. Publicizing salaries also has the potential to change salary inequalities. As the Quartz column notes, staying mum on salary information helps employers, not employees. “Making pay more transparent won’t close the gap on its own, but it puts a burden on companies to at least explain any disparity, and begin to resolve them,” writer Max Nisen notes.

Some firms have started posting salary information on the web. And the salaries of most government employees are public record. The Gray Lady may not be that agile, nor so inclined. But as the fallout from a story that turned a glass ceiling into a glass cliff continues, perhaps it’s time to revisit our assumptions about who knows what when it comes to salary equality.

 

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