More Than Half of Working Women Do Not Think They are Affected by the Gender Wage Gap Reveals New Downtown Women's Club Survey

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Despite the pervasiveness of the pay gap, many women do not realize they are being paid less than their male colleagues and are, in fact, paying a "potential mommy penalty," whether or not they plan on having a family. This was one of the many results of the latest Downtown Women's Club survey of three generations of businesswomen - Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y.

The DowntownWomensClub.com April 2007 Women in the Workplace: Generationally Speaking survey reveals that three generations of businesswomen -- Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y -- are in agreement on many of the workplace issues for women, yet stereotypes and differences in lifestyles may lead to a communication gap. The survey of 650 working women was conducted in March. One of the major findings, however, was that most women are unaware that they are affected by the gender wage gap.

Key Findings on the Gender Wage Gap

This week, the American Association of University Women released a study revealing that the pay gap begins as early as a graduate's first job, where women earn only 80% of what their male counterparts earn. Ten years later, the gap increases to 69% for college-educated women as they advance in their career. Yet, in the Downtown Women's Club's April 2007 survey (Women in the Workplace: Generationally Speaking), when asked if they were currently affected by the wage gap, only 50% of Boomers; 40% of Generation X; and 38% of Generation Y businesswomen responded "Yes." Although the numbers increased when asked if they thought the gender wage gap would affect them in the future: Boomers - 60%, Generation X - 57%, and Generation Y - 68%.

"It's worrisome that today, despite media coverage and a number of books on the topic, many women still do not realize that they are affected by the gender wage gap," says Diane K. Danielson, who conducted the survey for DowntownWomensClub.com, an online and in-person networking organization for businesswomen. "People are often too quick to conclude that the pay gap has to do with women opting out. But even when gender gap studies compare equal work situations there is still a gap," she says. "The AAUW survey included recent graduates, a group that seemingly should not be affected by outside family issues. But if some of the gap has to do with women opting differently, we need to ask whether subtle discrimination like the gender gap, might be a contributing factor."

Why haven't women been making progress at closing this gap? Danielson believes that "one factor is that women today tackle their workplace issues individually and not collectively." She laments that as a result, many Generation X and Y women who may never even have children are still paying a "potential mommy penalty" when it comes to career advancement.

She hopes organizations like the Downtown Women's Club (http://www.downtownwomensclub.com) and it's blog, http://www.womensDISH.com, will help make more women aware of the issues. "The younger generations need to work together to make changes," states Danielson. "If they are feeling disconnected from groups founded by Boomers, then they need to form their own. Fighting battles individually rarely works to change corporate America."

So, will the gender gap be resolved in our lifetimes? Danielson thinks we'll be able to make a better prediction in 10-15 years, when today's Generation Y turns 40. "That's the age when people move into decision making positions."

The complete survey which covers other topics like "opting out" and the "mommy wars" can be downloaded at: http://womensdish.typepad.com/the_womens_dish/files/GenerationallySpeaking.pdf

Survey Methodology
We surveyed the members of DowntownWomensClub.com, who are professional businesswomen ranging in age from 22 to 62+. Of the 650 women we had respond: 220 were Baby Boomers (b. 1946-1964); 317 were Generation X (b. 1965-1976); and 113 were Generation Y (b. 1977-1993). 60% of respondents don't have children; and 87% were white; 6% Black; 2% Asian; 2% Hispanic; and 3% other.

About DowntownWomensClub.com
DowntownWomensClub.com (http://www.downtownwomensclub.com) is a leader in "Networking to Go" - 24/7 business and social networking that is convenient, pressure free and adaptable to today's varying work styles. It was founded in 1998 by Diane K. Danielson, whose credits include author, lawyer, entrepreneur and software developer. Its innovative "Clicks and Mix" model offers thousands of women an online and offline community using new and emerging technologies such as DWC Faces (a proprietary, Internet-searchable member directory for career women). Member-launched, custom tailored local chapters currently include Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, LA, NYC, Pittsburgh, Providence, San Diego, San Francisco, and Worcester, MA, with new locations in the pipeline. For a yearly membership fee of $49.99, members access "networking to go," professional development, promotional opportunities, social events, discounts and more, anytime, anywhere and any way they choose.

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DIANE DANIELSON
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