Mar 4, 2008

Gender pay gap embarrassment

A lot of the news about Pittsburgh's economic woes are local stories that don't travel far. But when the results of a major national study on gender-based pay inequity is released, it's a national story.

I heard it yesterday on NPR news but I didn't catch the numbers until I read today's Post-Gazette. It's bad:
Women make up 48 percent of the Pittsburgh area work force, yet female managers earned just 58.3 percent of local men and 89.5 percent of what women around the country made, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. Women in management positions at local nonprofits fared only slightly better, earning 64.3 percent of their male counterparts.

This disparity can be attributed to a sluggish economy, stagnant population growth and a legacy of heavy industry, argued study co-authors Chris Briem and Sabina Deitrick of the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Social and Urban Research.

Whatever it is, it's a saddening, deeply institutionalized indication of the backwardness of this once great city.

As Pittburgh gazes into its mirror searching to recognize its flaws, it must understand this is a BIG problem. It repells rather than attracts people to the area.