When it comes to equal pay for equal work, a majority of women believe that in the age of #metoo, an appropriate Twitter handle might be #notyet.
A new survey by Ellevest, a financial firm focused on women investors, found 83% of women believe that men are often paid more than their female colleagues for the same work — and 61% of men agree.
Survey: money is power
Meanwhile, 48% of women think they have to work twice as hard as a man to take home half the pay, and just 42% believe their opportunities on the job are the same as their male colleagues. That's compared to 58% of men who believe that the playing field is fair.
Still, at a time when a national conversation is taking place about sexual harassment, Sallie Krawcheck, Ellevest's CEO, believes society may finally be poised to focus on another disparity fracturing the workplace — unequal pay.
"The gender pay gap is alive and well,'' says Krawcheck, who co-founded Ellevest in Nov. 2014. But "I hope this is the beginning of a first step for companies to really open their eyes, women to work together and for us to work to close it.''
In 2015, women were on average paid 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, according to the non-profit Institute for Women's Policy Research. The numbers were even worse for women of color, with black women earning 68% of what was paid to white men and Hispanic women's pay amounting to just 62% of their white male peers, according to the IWPR.
But just as dozens of sexual misconduct allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein triggered an examination of such behavior and led to the downfall of numerous prominent media figures, including former Today anchor Matt Lauer and actor Kevin Spacey, high-profile cases are now turning a spotlight on the gender wage gap.
Mark Wahlberg says he is donating $1.5 million dollars to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund in Michelle Williams' name. Buzz60
Last month, former E! News host Catt Sadler accused the network of paying her roughly half the salary earned by her male-co-host Jason Kennedy, a disparity E! Chief Frances Berwick has since said was due to their different roles.
Then, this month, USA TODAY reported that actress Michelle Williams was paid less than $1,000 — or less than one-tenth of 1% — of the $1.5 million paid to her co-star Mark Wahlberg for reshoots of the film All the Money in the World. Following a fierce backlash, Wahlberg said on Saturday that he would be donating his fee, in Williams' name, to the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund that has been established to assist those who are subjected to sexual harassment or abuse in the workplace.
Ann Curry appeared on 'CBS This Morning' to talk about her new PBS series and for the first time, she shared her thoughts on the sexual misconduct allegations against her former 'Today' co-anchor Matt Lauer. USA TODAY
While the country fitfully moves toward paying women on par with their male peers, Krawcheck says that in the meantime, women need to be investing what they can. Currently, they are leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table because they are not investing at the same rate as their male counterparts.
“I say to them, look if you had a hole in your pocketbook ... and a hundred bucks fell out, how many days would it take you to fix your pocketbook?'' Krawcheck says. “You shouldn't wait. Just because you have a gender pay gap doesn't mean 'Oh gosh. Never mind.' That's like saying 'I broke my arm and I broke my leg. Doctor, you may not fix my arm until my leg is fixed.' We all need to do what we can do to get ourselves financially stable.''
Helping women gain their financial footing was the key motivation for Krawcheck to start her own firm after a career that included stints heading Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Smith Barney. But she says that she was initially reluctant.
When others encouraged her to launch a women-focused investment firm, “I really thought it was a sexist pandering idea, that women didn't need anything any different,'' she says. But “as I took a step back I realized how much not investing was costing women ... I finally said I don't care if I, on first blush, thought it was a bad idea. Women are not being well-served by the investing industry. We have to build something from the ground up.''
And being in command of their money significantly lifts women's self esteem, with 63% saying in the Ellevest survey that building savings and investments that can fund their goals means more to them than their education or even the support of their family.
As for the wage gap, "I am actually more hopeful than I have been in a long time about us closing it,'' Krawcheck says.
“Money may not buy happiness, but money is power,'' she added. "It is key to peace of mind. It is key to levels of comfort, and ... in this day and age, it's key to saying ‘quit chasing me around the desk. Take this job and shove it.' ”