Women in the Workplace

I spoke with my tax advisor last week and was reminded of how much I don’t like giving money to the government. The size of one’s tax bill is a topic people just don’t talk about with anyone, because it is directly related to how much money they make. When you hear a guy complaining about having to write a check for (fill in the amount) for his taxes, and you realize that he paid more in taxes than you made in the year, it’s hard to feel too sorry for him.

Our cover story this month on the wage gap between women and men confirms that while the gap is narrowing, women are still paying less in taxes, i.e. earning less than men. Unfortunately, that gap hasn’t narrowed much in the last decade. The largest wage gap closure occurred in the 1980s when it climbed 11.4 percent, going from 60.2 to 71.4 percent. In the last 25 years, however, the gap has only closed 7.4 percent to a national average of just under 79 percent.

According to a 2014 report by the Center for Public Policy Priorities, full-time working women in the Fort Worth metro area made 78 cents for every $1 that their male counterparts made. Texas ranks 28th out of the 51 states in its median annual earnings ratio for working women versus working men.

While there are many measurable factors affecting the wage gap, one that is not measurable is the hesitancy on the part of women to aggressively negotiate for raises and promotions. Our subfeature titled Preparing for War (page 54) provides women guidelines on interviewing and negotiating their compensation plan. You’ll also learn, as did I, the meaning of the new terms “glass escalator” and “glass cliff.”

On the topic of women in the workplace, you’ll want to read our story on Ebby Halliday, founder and chairman of Ebby Halliday Realtors. She will celebrate her 104th birthday this month. In July of 2009, we convinced the granddame of Fort Worth and Dallas residential real estate to come to Fort Worth (she lives in Dallas) as the keynote speaker at a real estate luncheon the magazine was putting on. I had the privilege of introducing her.

Sitting next to Ebby at lunch prior to her speech, I had the opportunity to visit with her and was amazed at her work ethic. At the spry age of 98-years-old, she still woke up every morning around 5 a.m. and arrived at the office two hours before most employees were out of bed. She accomplished more by noon than most people do in an eight-hour day. This work ethic certainly gave her a step-up on the competition during those early days in the late 40s and early 50s when she started her company and women made on average only 63 percent of what men made. Join me in wishing Ebby a happy 104th birthday and thanking her for all she has done to help close the wage gap for women in the Metroplex.


Hal A. Brown