Even more telling is that pay data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrates some distressing trends. The salary gap among workers in the U.S.—the statistics aren't exclusive to rubber—actually grows the older people get. Women are closest to wage parity between the ages of 25 and 34, when most are just beginning their careers. At this time, they make 90.6 percent of what men in the U.S. earn overall.
But as workers age, the BLS statistics grow more grim. For workers ages 45 and older, females make roughly 77-78 percent of what males bring home. That is a clear indication that men are advancing further up the corporate ladder, gaining the lion's share of the promotions in the managerial tiers, and still dominate the C-suite positions that bring the big salaries.
Even with these statistics, however, it's hard not to have hope for progress when listening to this class of honorees.
Their advice? Question the status quo. Be persistent, and let those in charge know where you want to go in your career. If you feel you or your ideas aren't being respected, have evidence ready to back up what you are proposing and, if that doesn't work, recruit others to help you make your case.
It's encouraging that many of them pledge to "pay it forward" by advocating for the advancement of women. Others are helping to recruit more women into STEM careers by sharing their stories and proving why the tire and rubber industry is a good place to build a satisfying career.
With standard bearers like this group, even the biggest pessimists have to see better days ahead.