Gender Discrimination: the Main Reason That Women Are Paid Less Than Men

Topics: Gender, Discrimination, Sexism Pages: 13 (4951 words) Published: October 13, 2008


More than 2,000 years ago the Greek philosopher Plato wrote… “Nothing can be more absurd than the practice that prevails in our country of men and women not following the same pursuits with all their strengths and with one mind, for thus, the state instead of being whole is reduced to half.”(Plato, The Laws) There is a nationwide debate as to whether or not women are paid less than men as a result of gender discrimination in the workforce. It is our position that gender discrimination is in fact the main reason women are paid less than men, and we will defend our position with appropriate statistics and facts. This is no doubt a sensitive issue and there are a lot of different views and opinions throughout the world. It is certain that this topic is influenced by a wide range of factors and is also affected by geographical effects. Furthermore, if we want to hold the view that gender discrimination is largely responsible for differences in wage between men and woman, we have to concentrate on a specific market. In this case, on the United States, we should look on the hypothesis from different perspectives. To effectively defend our position, it is beneficial to break down our position into two parts. First, we have to prove that a gender pay gap in the United States actually exists. If we want to prove a crowding hypothesis we not only have to support this theory by referring to appropriate statistics, studies, and research, but also the existence of this hypothesis itself. Human resource managers are largely responsible for compensating employees, which would ultimately affect the pay gap between men and women. Human resource managers were asked if they think there actually is a gender pay gap among America’s companies, and if it existed inside there own organization. According to a recent study published by the Institute of Management & Administration in New York, they do in fact believe in this gap. Overall 89.4 percent of the interviewed managers think that there is a wage differential between the genders at other companies. What is surprising about this data is that only 17.7 percent of them added their own company to this group (“How Widespread Is the Gender Pay Gap”, 2006, p. 1). It seems that there is a real glass ceiling effect in America’s industry. Everyone talks about it but very few admit to having such a barrier in their own organization. However, as expected, there are further differences among the various industries and in regional trends. For instance, the study found that 100 percent of the respondents in the educational sector believe there is a wage differential while almost 18 percent in the non-profit industry are not committed to this thesis. The regional differences are smaller (p. 2) but for sure they would gain in importance if we looked outside of America. So our position is that we can state that there generally exists the perception of a gender-based pay gap, however, it observably differs from region to region and industry to industry. As mentioned earlier, there is a second part to our position which has to be considered, whether or not the pay gap is a result of gender discrimination. In our position it is quite clear that gender discrimination is the main factor influencing the pay gap and it emanates from the mentioned studies. To represent valid facts, the research had to provide a consistent basis, which sorted the wage and salary data out of all objective influences. That means from an objective view, the compared earnings are based on persons with the same characteristics, skills, and living conditions. Thus there are only subjective reasons left, which may cause this gender-based pay gap among men and women in the economic environment, and that means gender discrimination. On this account, in the discussion below, we will try to analyze...

References: Christie, J. (2007). Wal-Mart faces historic sex bias case. Reuters. Retrieved February 7, 2007, from
Heintz, J., Folbre, N. (2000) Field Guide to the U.S. Economy. New York: New Press, New Updated edition. pg. 145-149
Mather, M., Adams, D
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