Elephant In The Room: Should “Modern” Labor Day Be About The Gender Gap Between Men and Women Salaries in the US? 

Elephant In The Room: Should “Modern” Labor Day Be About The Gender Gap Between Men and Women Salaries in the US? 

I am married to a women who has commanded and earned  the respect of her colleagues throughout a successful career at a “large bank”. She is tough, smart and vigilant.  (Yes, she is also loving, but that is a different track.) I am also fortunate to have a daughter who is now in her sophomore year of college and getting ready in a few years to launch her own career.  So on this this Labor Day Weekend in 2019 I thought I  should take a pause and shine a light on how women in the workforce are progressing.

Equal pay for my daughter when she is 59 does not work for me!

Thank you to the feminist movement. Your sacrifices have moved the needle so that my daughter has a shot at equal pay.  We have come a long way since 1882, but clearly we need to continue to push further!  The Women’s Policy Research estimates  that equal pay won’t happen until 2059. This data illustrates how the fight for compensation equality is real, and while I am much more optimistic, its implications on women’s retirement goals are very meaningful. My daughter has always been a great saver, but  if her equality of pay is not achieved until she is 50 or 59 year of age her ability to save during those 30 years will be  negatively impacted. Think pre-tax  savings at a maximum contribution level  + matching times some sort of compounding and she will  have saved  MUCH MUCH less money when she is 50, 60 or 70 years old.

Please don’t call me a Liberal!  My comments are not about politics or  the #MeToo movement. Of course,  I believe that sexual harassment, discrimination  and suppression  are  HORRIFIC .   I would like to keep this discussion focused on on the economics and arguably how irrational it is that women do not get paid the same as men.  As a parent, the simple fact is that we spent a fortune educating my daughter not so she would be paid 80.7 cents on the dollar.  Moreover, we brought her up to have a voice and advocate for herself. Her future is her own and her ability to contribute equally to society I would argue makes for a stronger United States.

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was quoted as saying “Figure Don’t Lie, But Liars Do Figure”. To be fair, I share some of these statistics to make a point.   Meaning – while these statistic  come from reputable source I have not verified the data. The value in my mind is that they send a message of inequality.

Now what can you do? Support the cause by having a voice. Join the Women in  ETFs organization.  Look deep under the hood at ETFs like ImpactShares Women YWCA Women Empowerment ETF (WOMN)SSGA’s Gender Diversity ETF (SHE). Obviously there is more than you can, but this is an ETF Nerd site.

Below is a quick comparison of the holdings and it is clear that the index methodologies are curiously different. The overlap between these two funds  is 19% which must be a surprise given the ETF names. Is this a deviation from the Smart Beta goal?

More important than just the short term return performance is the fact that WOMN has a 58% overlap to the SPY and SHE only 17%. This means that SHE has more “Activeshare” and maybe even a higher “Smart Cost” score., but the real question is who is better reflecting the mission of equality  with its index methodology and thus  ownership of companies.

I  have been reading on LinkedIn about the best states and cities to live in. My wife and I live in New York City and my daughter goes to school at Elon University, which is located between the cities of Greensboro and Raleigh .  The statistics below are not encouraging for my daughter in either place.

Thank you Business Insider for highlighting this issue back on August 26th.  Clearly a great deal of passion came from the writers, Sonam Sheth, Shayanne Gal and Andy Kiersk. The article is Titled “7 charts that show the glaring gap between men and women’s salaries in the US.”  I also share  two articles below and a video. (1) Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? By Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic https://hbr.org/2013/08/why-do-so-many-incompetent-men ; (2) Have we forgotten the trust meaning of Labor Day? By Jay L Zagorsky http://theconversation.com/have-we-forgotten-the-true-meaning-of-labor-day-64526 I am also sharing a Debate that took place last May 18, 2018 Titled: Debate: Has the #MeToo Movement gone Too far because I was so impressed by the intelligence of the discussion on the stage. (Of course, those who know Germaine Greer, Melanie Philips Baronese Helena Kennedy, Sophia Walker)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX1gNTF7liM

My wife’s successful career experience may be different than some, but I am confident that that companies  that embrace diversity at  the core will pave the way for people like my daughter. Our  society is stronger by the openness of the debate.

Happy Labor Day! Monday I am resting. You should too!

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