The latest figures show that not only do female undergraduates outnumber males – but women dominate the graduate schools too.
And that’s changing the strategy of the equal pay movement, because corporations realize that if they can’t attract and keep these female graduates, their competitors will. That means more companies are looking for ways to convince women they’re serious about equal pay and promotion.
“So it may not be that they don’t want to do it, but they don’t know how to do it,” explained Victoria Budson at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Budson is working on a program called the Boston Women’s Compact – which helps corporations attract and keep women.
Participants offer benefits like on-site child care, paid family leave, flexible hours, and in some cases, agree to publish salary information – because that’s the only way you know if you’re being paid fairly. It’s no accident that the employer with the smallest pay gap between men and women is the federal government: because the salaries are a matter of public record.
That’s the main reason behind the president’s latest executive order prohibiting federal contractors from punishing employees who talk about how much they’re making.
The most encouraging thing is that the Boston Women’s Compact isn’t about new laws – it’s about finding ways to hire and promote the best people at a time when more and more of them happen to be women who are looking for ways to work full-time without neglecting their families.
Said Budson, “All of these interventions that help women, help everybody.”