Zenith Wealth Partners

Breaking the Glass Ceiling

The gender pay gap has been a hot topic for years, and the financial industry is no exception. In the world of finance, there is a significant gender pay gap that exists. While we hear the gender pay gap being talked about frequently sometimes it can feel like there aren’t any solutions given. If the gender pay gap is talked about so frequently you may be wondering why we need to continue the conversation. From personal experience I’ve had professor’s scoff at the topic of the gender pay gap and hiring managers laugh at clubs like women’s leadership. Continuing the conversation and educating about inequality is a major part of the solution, however there are more actionable solutions that can be taken as well.


According to the latest available data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women in the financial industry make only 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. This is a staggering difference, and it’s not just limited to the financial industry. It’s a problem that spans all industries and sectors. When we look across all industries, women earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. This gap is even wider for women of color, particularly Black and Latina women. It’s important to note that while the gap has decreased over the years, it still persists and negatively affects the financial well-being of women. As a young woman myself entering the workforce these statistics are discouraging. When most finish their work for the day, women like myself and my peers continue to put in countless hours to prove our value and capability. I continue to wonder when will a motivated employee, student, entrepreneur, or individual be seen as just that, despite their gender or ethnicity?


In order to address the gender pay gap in the financial industry or any industry, there are several things that we can do. The first is to focus on increasing the number of women in senior-level positions. This will help to create a more equitable playing field, and it will also provide women with the opportunity to earn higher salaries and bonuses. The key words here are ‘the opportunity to earn’, a common myth when discussing the gender pay gap is that women just want to be given more monetary things such as salaries and bonuses however, that is simply not the case. Equal opportunity and equal pay is the end goal. 

Another solution is to address the issue of bias in the hiring process. Studies have shown that unconscious bias can play a significant role in hiring decisions. By addressing this issue and increasing diversity in the financial industry, we can help to ensure that women have access to the same opportunities as men. This is easier said than done, with this comes combating the general stereotypes many women face, the general view society has on women. From elementary school teachers asking for the ‘strong boys’ to carry books all the way to when we are grown adults being told a man is more suited for a job because he is a man. 

Lastly, a solution that can be done with a quicker turnaround opposed to the before mentioned long-term solutions is offering students opportunities earlier on in their educational journey. Large companies and businesses should be offering internship programs and educational experiences to students. By offering programs like these it creates more opportunity for women to showcase their skills and knowledge before having to enter the workforce. While this will still mean a female intern may have to work harder than her male counterpart, it is creating the opportunity for more diversity to enter the workforce. The start to closing the gender pay gap is by opening the door for women, to have their skills and experience be unquestionable in the hiring process, which will then give women the opportunity to advance to the senior-level positions.   

Being a topic close to heart I am continuing my work to bring attention to this issue by analyzing the pay disparities across the United States by gender and ethnicity. I believe my findings will show how the gender pay gap is present in each state as well as how it varies due to race and ethnicity. Let Women’s History Month be the spark of a larger conversation that doesn’t end until there is equal pay for all.

Sarah Shields



U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (n.d.). https://www.bls.gov/

Johnson, S. K. (2019, February 7). If There’s Only One Woman in Your Candidate Pool, There’s Statistically No Chance She’ll Be Hired. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2016/04/if-theres-only-one-woman-in-your-candidate-pool-theres-statistically-no-chance-shell-be-hired


All written content is for information purposes only. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of Zenith, unless otherwise specifically cited. Material presented is believed to be from reliable sources and no representations are made by our firm as to another parties’ informational accuracy or completeness. All information or ideas provided should be discussed in detail with an advisor, accountant or legal counsel prior to implementation.

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