This disappointing -- and disturbing -- headline in Sunday's newspaper made Jane sigh, very loudly:
Pay Gap Between the Sexes Widens.
The story goes on to note that "women see drop in income; earn 75.5 cents per $1 men earn." I would link to the story, it's from USA TODAY, but the site doesn't have a link to it, so I guess you will have to research it elsewhere, if you want the skinny on it. From here, the indication is depressing. The Census Bureau is quoted saying this is the "first statistically significant decline in women's incomes since 1995."
(thanks to Kirsten at re:inventionincblog: The story is by Barbara Hagenbaugh. Click on her name to get the full story.)
Lip-sticking has been touting the women's market with some nice numbers...showing the women do have discrentionary income and that they're spending it online, and then a newspaper reporter goes and puts a noose around our necks. This article from the Christian Science Monitor, posted in June, makes a good point that there are only so many jobs to go around, and more than enough women to fill them, so...what does it all really mean?
To support our continued belief that women wield their purses and their credit cards with pride, the Credit Care Center says that "women are gaining more education and work experience and entering higher-paying traditionally male-dominated jobs. Today 35.7% of women work in the higher-paying managerial and professional fields, compared with only 28.2% of men." Which gives new meaning to the USA TODAY story: the wages they are talking about are most likely not for managerial or professional incomes.
These trend reports in a PDF offered online, taken from Martha Barletta's 2003 book, Marketing to Women show a different story:
Women’s Soaring Income
-- Over the past three decades (1970 – 1998), while men's median income has barely budged (+0.6% after inflation), women's income has soared a dramatic 63%.
-- Majority of Household Income in Majority of Households -Women bring in half or more of the HH income in the majority of US households.
-- 27% of USHH are single female-headed households where the woman brings in the entire household income.
-- 55% of USHH are married couples. Census Bureau survey data indicate that 48 percent of working wives provide at least half of their household's income.
-- As of 1999, 30% of women out-earned their husbands, up steeply from 25% in 1997.
-- Among married women executives working for a Fortune 500 company with rank of VP or higher, a remarkable 75% out-earned their husbands, bringing home on average 68% of household income.(please read the PDF or buy Martha's book, Marketing to Women : How to Understand, Reach, and Increase Your Share of the Largest Market Segment, as each of these stats are qualified with citations.)
Jane would like to leave you with this thought: women may still be battling the wage war...and our success will continue to be an up and down spike on any bar graph...but out there in the trenches, we're in charge of pantry, closet, bathroom, kitchen, supply cabinet, and more. Don't count us out. That dip in our earnings may make us tighten our belt a little for now, but we're experts at stretching a dollar. This is just another terrific opportunity to make your website the place we want to spend our money. Obviously, with less cash in our pockets, we're going to avoid wasting gas...we're going to want to buy in quantity if it's cheaper...and we're going to scrutinize not only your privacy statement online, but your personality. Are you really our friend, or a wolf in sheep's clothing?
Little Red Riding Hood is part of that old Dick and Jane era...and we're not buying the wolf's story anymore. We aren't looking for a knight in shining armor, and we aren't waiting for Prince Charming to rescue us from some tall tower.
We're strong, intelligent, and starting to hear jingle bells. When we start checking our list...twice...is your website going to be one that we click into to get those all important gifts we want to give our family and friends? It is if you're lip-sticking your sales message.
What's not to like about that?