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Although the easily-remembered millenia-old (even enshrined in the Bible) 80-20% disparity remains a convenient ubiquitous meme, pay equity differentials tend to be a bit less than that. Think 14%.

Two 1981 studies supplied precise definitions of the extent of the still-lingering systemic discrimination. The National Academy of Sciences research team produced an extremely precise formula clearly establishing the statistical link between the percentage of protected class membership and the resulting income shortfall. Almost simultaneously, the American Compensation Association commissioned its own independent study of member pay. Howard Risher's 1981 stepwise regression report on all potentially relevant factors affecting pay showed that the indefensible gender pay gap was "only" 14.3%. That came after equalizing all variables. With identical personal and organizational characteristics (age, experience, time working, education, number of jobs, position level, organization type, employer size, etc., because I'm sure I forgot some) female gender required a subtraction from the total compensation otherwise received by males.

While the federally funded NAS "Women, Work and Wages" study rocked the country for a short period, Professor Risher's private analysis of (as I recall) over 20,000 American pay professionals went unnoticed by all but me. Even Howard didn't see the implications, at the time, because I asked him. That study, by the way, was never repeated. And the ACA's successor association is much smaller and more female than ever before.

For the patient reader, I supplied all the very germane but boringly granular detail about pay equity for a good reason. (Hey, we ARE comp people, so we can take it!) It was simply CYA to preface my initial reaction to this excellent article: identical distribution does not assure identical compensation. Even if and when women and other protected classes receive equal access to opportunities, that does not guarantee equal outcome results.

The USA's largest racial minority is Hispanic, but they certainly don't get the quasi-dominant attention focused on others with lower citizenship numbers. Some population clusters still remain more equal than others.

We here can and should be agents of change, because our profession deals with reinforcement consequences. Please think about it.

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