Ladies, Let’s Gun for That Eight-Figure Salary

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So I opened the WSJ online this morning and nearly spat out my decaf:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. paid its chairman and chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, about $54 million for 2006, a record for Wall Street bosses who are harvesting their share of bull-market bounty.

Say what? Fifty-four million? Can that be right? According to the World Bank web site, $54 million is the entire GDP of Sao Tome and Principe in West Africa.

One guy earned what an entire country did? What did he do–invent the AIDS vaccine? Cure world hunger? Broker peace in the Middle East?

Ha, ha! Oh, I jest. Of course he didn’t. To bring home a morbidly obese paycheck, Blankfein helmed an investment bank during a year in which it generated record-breaking revenues of $9.5 billion and its stock soared 59%.

For this he earned $25,961.54 an hour.

Isn’t that great? And they’re bickering down in Washington about hiking pay for burger flippers and toilet cleaners to $7.25 an hour! Blankfein earned that in one second! (For real–do the math.)

The Good News Express continued to roll as I read a report released today by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), a Washington think tank. In “The Best and Worst State Economies for Women,” IWPR found that “despite women’s quick-paced progress in some areas, fair compensation continues to elude them.” Some findings:

* Between 1999 and 2005, 15 states saw a widening of the wage gap between women and men.

* Nationwide, women who work full-time, year-round have median annual earnings of $31,800–or 77% of men’s annual earnings of $41,300.

The news wasn’t all bad: the study found that women are in fact scratching their way up the ladder.

Despite a lag in wage parity, women are making gains in other areas related to employment and earnings. The proportion of women in managerial and professional occupations, for example, is on the rise, at 35.5%, up from 33.2% at the time of IWPR’s last data release. The best states on this indicator are the District of Columbia (52.5%), Maryland (43.1%), Virginia (40.3%), Massachusetts (39.7%), and New Jersey (37.6%); the worst states are Idaho (27.1%), Tennessee (28.7%), Utah (28.8%), Arkansas (29.5%), and Nevada (29.6%).

Landing an office with a window is nice and all. But what’s the point if we’re still making less by a quarter than Bob next door?

We’re not asking for eight-figure salaries here (unless that’s what Bob’s making). No, all we want is something to show we’re valued equally for our equally hard work. Ladies, it’s time to gun for 100% pay parity.

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