Freelancing Women Shatter the Pay Gap
Elana Schlenker, the curator of Less Than 100 pop-up shop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has found a unique way to register her concern over the gender pay gap. She charges female customers 24% less while male shoppers pay a full price at her shop.
In Pennsylvania, women make $74 for every $100 men earn, close to the national average. This means that full-time employed women in America will work approximately three extra months to earn what men did by the end of the previous year.
While some women like Schlenker are finding ways to keep the debate on the disparity alive, others are looking for alternative routes to pump up their monthly paycheck to narrow the gap.
A study conducted for the Freelancers Union found out that about 7 in 10 women consider freelancing on the side as a means to get extra cash as compared to only about 5 in 10 of their male counterparts.
But is this approach working for the women?
We know that more women are freelancing and working part- time than men. As freelancers, they are often securing more projects than their male counterparts and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as part-time workers; their average earnings are slightly more than men.
But they are also older than their male counterparts. For example, in 2013, about 30 percent of female part-time workers were 16 to 24 years old, compared to over 40 percent of male part-time workers.
The numbers could be indicative of the rising mumpreneur trend as more mothers opt out from full time jobs to take care of a child. Ironically, this is one of the many reasons why the disparity in paycheck still exists. According to a survey conducted by the PEW Research Center, about four in ten mothers say they have taken a significant amount of time off from work (39%) or reduced their work hours (42%) to care for a child or other family member. These interventions can have an adverse impact on their over all earnings.
At the same time, even though more women are taking up roles in higher paying jobs, previously dominated by men, women as a whole continue to work in lower-paying occupations further lowering their national average.
This is where part-time and freelancing women are turning the tables. While no one knows exactly how long will it take to eradicate the existing gender pay gap in the full-time work culture, women are already running ahead of men in the freelancing world.
More women entrepreneurs are signing the paychecks every day. By positioning themselves as job creators rather than job seekers, they are creating thrilling prospects for the future of a new work culture where discussion on an unequal paycheck will perhaps become unnecessary.
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