What is the gender wage gap? The gender wage gap is the average difference between the remuneration for men and women who are working. In other words, women are generally paid less than men. The gender wage gap started in the early 1900s during World War I and has been continuing since. You would think that in over a hundred years time that wage gap would be closed, but this is not the case. You would think that with the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that the gender wage gap would at least be a few cents off and that the gap is very close to being closed, but again this is not the case.
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With women representing almost half the workforce, they are also the sole or co-breadwinners for 50% of American families with children. Women on average earn more college and graduate degrees than men. Yet full-time, year-round working women only make 80.5 cents to every dollar earned by men and brings the wage gap percentage to 20%. This is a huge leap from 1963 where the wage gap percentage was 41%. The wage gap is not expected to be completely gone until 2059, and that rate is only for white women, but for women of color the rate is even slower.
There are many articles that give an insight as to what factors contribute to the gender wage gap. For instance, in comparison to men, women often choose to pursue careers in lower-wage industries. There are some estimates that say occupational differences account for nearly half of the wage gap. The next factor is the average amount of hours for full-time working women. Full-time working women, on average, work about 35 minutes less per day than their male counterparts. With that said, in the highest-paid industries especially, a reduction in hours results in a disproportionate reduction in salary. Although there is no evidence whether working that extra 35 minutes actually makes men more productive than women in certain positions.
These companies also take into consideration the fact that women could have family responsibilities. Women are much more likely than men to take time off work to care for others, either their children or their parents or other aging relatives. This can cause a reduce in women’s income over time while their male counterparts can receive a income increase due to them becoming parents. The last major factor is pay negotiation. Women are less likely to negotiate their starting pay when selecting a new job due to supposed lack of confidence. Some try to explain this away as a confidence issue, and that may be some of the problem. There is a study from Harvard that showed that women may be smart to hold back on negotiations, as negotiating aggressively can come at a social cost for women. Women negotiating for themselves can feel a real social backlash in the workplace that may disadvantage them over the long term.
All these factors are taken into consideration when the simple matter of the fact is this: WOMEN ARE EQUALLY DESERVING AS MEN! The factors of a woman's life, which the same factors can apply to a man’s life, should not be taken into consideration when deciding her pay. Often women are seen as better employees in comparison to their male counterparts but are not compensated for it. It is on both men and women to fix this issue. Men should take those factors into consideration when deciding a woman’s pay and increase it to equal the men. Women should make sure they do more research into these companies and move accordingly to negotiate a pay increase or an increase in their starting pay. It takes the work of both sides to eradicate this problem from society.
Anthony is a Senior in College studying Political Science and preparing for a career in Communications. He enjoys learning about the world around him and ways to make it better.