Report: Gender pay gap is wider at the top for Hampton Roads

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — When it comes to pay and leadership roles in Hampton Roads, women are still taking a back seat.

The findings are part of Old Dominion University’s “State of the Region” report released this week.

“Women are doing the same jobs as men, but yet we have this 8% unexplainable gap that women are making less,” said Dr. Barbara Blake, Chief Administrative Officer of the Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy, Strome College of Business at ODU.

If education is the way to get ahead, you might assume women in Hampton Roads now make more money.

In ODU’s latest “State of the Region,” Blake reports nearly 32% of women have earned a bachelors degree compared to 30% of men.

While women with bachelors degrees earn about $41,000, men with bachelors make an average of $61,000 a year. With more education, the gap becomes wider.

When looking at those with graduate degrees, it’s a $33,000 difference. (women: $54,000/men: $87,000).

She also discovered the disparity carries over into the board room. ODU looked at the boards of directors at several big businesses in Hampton Roads.

Dollar Tree, Huntington Ingalls and The Hampton Roads and Peninsula Chamber of Commerce are all dominated by men.

“I’ve asked Hampton Roads, raise the mirror, look at your c-suites, look at your boards, look at the population of your organization.”

The barrier today, Blake contends, isn’t the glass ceiling, it’s the stall in the middle. “We know we have women at the beginning of their careers, but something happens in the middle that perhaps they drop out.”

The “Motherhood Penalty” is often blamed. That is when moms go part time, or take a leave of absence to care for children.

Caring for elderly parents is an increasing issue as well, Blake said.

“Let’s talk about it, let’s see what our local needs are, what are the issues, how can we do better.”

Blake said the good news is the gap is narrowing, however, if current trends continue the gap won’t close for another 40 years.

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