Updated: Jan 3
Maruta Mang, a 48-year veteran finance executive in the banking industry, is accustomed to receiving a smaller paycheck than her male colleagues.
Mang, 84, is a triple minority because she is a woman, an octogenarian and an immigrant. She also is emblematic of a recent study that says minority women make 60 cents on the dollar compared to their male counterparts.
"The expectations seem to be higher for women. It is a matter of building credibility,” said Mang, who is a firm believer that the wage gap has affected her, especially in the finance industry.
The study released this year on the wage gap showed that women overall earned 80 percent of their male counterparts for all industries. The wage gap was especially acute in the finance industry, said Maria Ilcheva, assistant director of planning and operations for Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center. Ilcheva authored the study.
However, there also is a significant disparity among races and age when it comes to salary. While many are unaware of how prevalent the gap actually is, others are feeling its drastic effects.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women in Florida earn 87 cents for each dollar earned by a man. While this might not seem like a substantial difference, it results in a loss of $5,515 per year per female worker.
“If you read our report you’ll see that we tried to break down the data by industries and occupations, and it is precisely to show that the wage gap exists,” Ilcheva said.
Businesses need to change their salary structures, Ilcheva said.
“Unfortunately, business is mostly focused on profit,” she said. “For the majority of them, something needs to be regulated either from the federal government or at the local level in order for them to start making equality a priority.”
Luis de la Aguilera, CEO and president of U.S. Century Bank, says he is trying to improve his company’s equality profile, but admits there’s work to be done at the higher end of the scale.
“I have been in this industry for 38 years and yes there is a wage gap to be addressed. When I started in banking in 1982, there simply were few females in management or senior and executive roles,” De la Aguilera said.