Gender Wage Gap

Topics: Sexism, Income in the United States, Men Pages: 5 (1565 words) Published: January 8, 2014
From the beginning, history has proven that women have constantly been classified as the weaker gender. In some biased opinions, women are often thought of as mothers and homemakers. Throughout history, women have had to fight for their rights; while men had theirs handed to them at birth. Such discrimination against women as it relates to the workplace, has led to laws being placed to stop discrimination based on gender. This paper is centered on the gender pay gap and gives some common perceptions about the issue. I attempt to explain the reasons behind the gender wage gap between men and women by briefly looking at the issue historically and explain some theories and studies as it relates to employers preference, education and career choices. Although todays work has changed vastly for women in America since the late 50s, one thing that still remains the same is the pay gap between men and women over the last decade. Such discrimination against women has caused certain laws to be placed to put a stop to unfair practices. Since the signing of the equal pay act of 1963, it is now illegal to pay men and women substantially different wages for equal work (NWCL, 2013). This poses the question, could there still be pay difference between men and women in todays’ workforce and if so why? Let’s first take a look at wages from an historical time-line. Pay difference between men and women remains a hot topic that keeps re-surfacing over the years and reasons behind the gap are highly debated. Research has proven, after World War II, women were paid 60% of what men were paid. After the Equal Pay act was passed in 1963 things took a positive turn for women and women’s rights. However, although things and opportunities became better for women, there was no equal pay for all. Working women today earn an average of 80 cents for every dollar earned by male counter parts which is better than the latest reports of 77 cents for every dollar in 2011. Some reasons that may contribute to these statistics are employer views on what salaries “should” be based on bias views that many employers have. One common view is the gender “rule of women” duties and responsibilities resulting from parenthood. It is very common for women to work part time or take a break in their education or careers when there are children to take care of. However this doesn’t apply to “all women” and sadly all women are placed in to this assumption. Those women who do choose to re-join the work force fulltime after taking a break or working only part time are challenged with accepting lesser wages than their male counterparts. Unfortunately for women who don't have families are still considered as “potential mothers” and because of this may be denied promotion opportunities or higher wages. Sometimes we as individuals without thinking, force our views on how one should be paid based on bias opinions. One story that I would like to reflect on would be a conversation between a mother and her 20 -year old daughter. The mother was a school official and she was just expressing her concerns of the teacher applicants. The mother bragging on how great all the candidates were and had narrowed down the candidates to only two. She mentioned that both of the candidates were great but the only difference was the genders. Just as I thought, the daughter asked, “What difference does that make?” The mother then began to express, “if I choose the young female she is sure to leave soon to get married and have children; but the young gentleman would need a bigger salary to take care of his family and a teacher’s salary would not be nearly enough”. The daughter took a step back and couldn’t believe the thoughts that her mother conveyed aloud. The daughter then asked her mom, “I am a young female, what if an employer determined my fate of employment on my gender?” In the story the daughter begins to express her feelings on how unfair this was because she had no intentions on having...

References: National Women Law Center, 2013
Buchman, C. The Rise of Women, 2006
Catlyst, 2013 Women 's Law Center National Women 's Law Center National Women 's Law Center
Bloomberg Law Reports, Thomas, S. PhD. The Gender Pay Gap: A Closer Look at the Underlying Causes
National Women 's Law Center
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