No. CCXXXV; October 29, 2015



The year 2015 will not be marked as a year in which the gender pay gap narrows.  In each of the first three quarters of the year, men's earnings in the U.S. have grown twice the rate of women's.  As a result, women working full-time earned 81 cents to every dollar earned by a man from July to September, a penny per dollar less than last year.

One factor driving the widening gap is increasing pay for men in higher-wage, professional fields.  Median pay for men in professional positions was $1,345 a week, while similar women earned just $970 a week. ("The Gender Pay Gap Widens as Men's Earnings Grow Twice as Fast as Women's," Wall Street Journal, 10/20/15)

This issue has been receiving increased attention lately, due to Hollywood stars discussing the fact that women in films are being paid less than their male co-stars.  Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence (pictured left) is the latest to write about the disparity which became known as a result of a computer hack into Sony's files.  Lawrence laments not negotiating as strongly as men out of fear of being labeled "spoiled" or "difficult," terms she realizes would not be applied to men. ("Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars? New York Times, 10/13/15)

California (Governor Jerry Brown, pictured right) is leading the nation in state governments addressing directly and more stringently pay inequities through legislation recently passed providing women employees with tools to challenge gender-based wage gaps.  The law goes further than U.S. federal law in placing the burden on the employer to prove a man's higher pay is based on factors other than gender and allowing workers to sue if they are paid less than someone who does substantially similar work even if they have different titles or work in different locations. (California Now Has One of the Toughest Pay Equity Laws in the Country," LA Times, 10/6/15)


Sixty-four percent of working-age women in Japan are employed, exceeding for the first time U.S. women’s participation in the workforce.  This surprising development is the result of a surge in Japanese women’s employment rate in recent years, while the rate in the U.S. has declined.  Changing attitudes toward mothers at work in Japan coupled with limited support for working mothers in the U.S. have helped to bring about this shift. 

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has also played a role in helping to improve the situation for women in the labor force.  In 2013, he made gender equality in the workplace a national priority, calling “womenomics” vital for sustained economic growth and setting a goal to raise the share of mothers returning to work after having a child to 55% by 2020. From the private sector side, the Japanese Association of Corporate Executives, a top business organization consisting of CEOs and Chairmen of major companies, issued a declaration stating they will strive to achieve a target of 30% female managers and executives by 2020, putting in place at the same time a managerial development program for women in order to reach this goal

Meanwhile, the slow U.S. economic recovery has had a negative impact on women. According to the Economic Policy Institute, between February 2010 and June 2014, U.S. men gained 5.5 million jobs, while women gained only 3.6 million.  The lack of family-friendly workplace policies in the U.S., such as paid family leave, has hampered new mothers, who, more than fathers, are forced to scale back at work or leave the workforce.  Over 43 million U.S. workers, mostly in lower-paid positions, have no access to paid leave, which exists in the U.S. only if employers supply it.  Conversely, in Japan, women receive 58 weeks of maternity leave, 26 of which are paid. (“Rising in Japan’s Workforce: Women,” Washington Post, 10/8/15)


There is a growing move to engage more male leaders in the fight for women's equity, since there are many more of them who are in charge of companies, countries and social institutions.  Recently, the French employers confederation -- MEDEF -- launched the CEOs: Champions of Change, a group of predominantly male CEOs who have pledged to create a more gender balanced French economy, where women can have access to senior management positions and to greater economic opportunities, in general.  Using their personal networks, CEOs who formed the initial group will invite their peers to join them in this challenge.  Joined at the launch by the heads of Sodexo, Microsoft France, Deloitte, Hewlett Packard, among others,  Pierre Gattaz, CEO of MEDEF, stated:  "It is urgent to put in motion all levers that can improve the competitiveness of our country.....gender balance management must become a true priority."

                             French CEOs and corporate leaders at launch of MEDEF's CEOs: Champions for Change

This initiative echoes Australia’s “Male Champions of Change”, a group of CEOs organized in 2010 by Elizabeth Broderick, the country’s Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, to become the public voice for women’s quest for business leadership roles.  Harnessing the personal clout of Australia's most influential male business leaders in the fight for workplace equity was necessary, according to Commissioner Broderick, to lift the effort to the national level.  Coupled with the Australian Stock Exchange’s decision to make gender diversity on boards a listing requirement, the country has seen women's board appointments rise to 20.3% from 7% just a few years ago.

Last September, U.S. Congressman Don Beyer formed the Men for Women Caucus within the House of Representatives "to promote economic growth through women's empowerment."  He was joined by Bloomberg Chairman, Peter Grauer, who is leading a private sector CEO effort to engage his peers on the task of increasing the number of U.S. women on corporate boards through the 30% Club.  Lastly, a massive global effort was initiated by UN Women called "He for She" -- again, to engage the men of the world in the fight for women's and girls' rights -- announced in 2014 by actress Emma Watson at a UN General Assembly meeting.  Now, heads of state announce their signing up for membership in this UN men's 'club'!


Companies led by CEOs with at least one daughter score an average of 11.9% higher than other top companies on corporate responsibility metrics such as diversity, community, employee relations, environment, and human rights, according to a recent study published in the Harvard Business Review.  These companies also spend 13.9% more of their net incomes on improving these metrics than the average firm.

The authors of the study, Henrik Cronqvist of the University of Miami and Frank Yu of China Europe International Business School, theorize that female children can increase sympathies in their parents. The pattern follows other studies which found that U.S. congressmen with daughters tend to vote more liberally, particularly on legislation involving reproductive rights, and that judges with daughters are more likely to rule liberally on cases involving gender.

While the male CEOs with daughters have better CSR ratings than those with no daughters, a company with a female CEO performs even better, though the sample of women CEOs is regrettably too small. ("Having a Daughter Might Make You a Better CEO," Time Magazine, 10/13/15)

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