Gender pay gap narrows, but women’s pay remains lower than men’s

For the sixth month in a row, women’s wages have increased at a faster rate than men’s. Data from the Atlanta Federal Reserve’s Wage Tracker shows women’s salaries rose an average of 4.4% in February from a year earlier, while men’s salaries rose 4.1%. % over the same period.

A Wall Street Journal report notes that the gender pay gap has narrowed (slightly) due to the job boom in the United States. The pandemic temporarily shut down several businesses in the personal care, food preparation, and health care sectors, and women made up a large portion of the low-wage service-sector jobs in those sectors. When businesses in these industries reopened last year, many struggled to find employees. They therefore had to increase the wages of their workers.

“This group of workers who have seen the worst disruptions during the pandemic are now also experiencing the fastest recovery in income and employment,” Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, told the Journal.

Citing data from the Conference Board’s private research group, the Journal reported that about 31% of women who changed jobs during the pandemic received more than 30% more overall compensation than in their previous position. This exceeds the 28% of men who reported a comparable salary increase.

But despite these gains, women’s wages remain well below those of men. Last year, the median weekly earnings of full-time female workers were 83.1% of male earnings.

One of the factors behind the gender pay gap is that women often work in lower paid jobs on average. A report by the US Department of Labor shows that women make up more than 75% of workers in eight of the 20 occupations with the lowest median weekly earnings, including hostesses, housekeepers and hairstylists. Women are also more likely than men to work part-time, accounting for 62% of part-time workers in February. These jobs also tend to pay less in sectors such as retail.

Those looking to invest in companies that promote gender diversity in the workplace may consider the SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE). SHE tracks the SSGA Gender Diversity Index, presenting investors with a basket of companies with superior gender diversity in leadership positions compared to other companies in their industries.

The six-year-old fund holds 191 stocks. Its components score well in terms of gender diversity in leadership positions, including the CEO.

SHE allocates almost 42% of its list to technology and healthcare stocks, while the consumer discretionary and industrials sectors combine for almost 21%. None of the components of the fund exceeds an allocation of 6.11%.

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