Gender Inequality in the Workplace: The Wage Gap

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We live in an era where women can do everything that men do right? This is a determination movement led by women and encouraged by men, but the struggle to close the wage gap is still going on behind the scenes. Women may be doing the things that men are doing but women are not getting the same amount of pay that the men are initially getting for the same job. With this happening in contrast with the movement of women empowerment, this should be a bigger discussion than it has been in the media. Women take time to do a lot of tasks especially when handling the challenging tasks of motherhood while being employed, making them more susceptible to taking more time off and getting paid less. To encourage the closing the gender wage gap there should be payment for parental leave, and subsidizing the costs of childcare.

Women in the workforce have been getting paid less for many of years so we should have a pretty good explanation for why this gap still exists correct? “ Researchers have estimated that as much as 10 percent to 40 percent of the wage gap cannot be explained even when taking into account gendered differences between the occupations, educations and work histories of men and women.”(Glynn, Fisher & Baxter, 2014). After all of these years there should be more of an explanation than just over 50 percent, this can only leave on thought of what this could possibly be, which is discrimination. There are all types of statistics about men receiving more pay than women and numbers to show how far apart the gap is but the only understanding that has not been said is discrimination. Employers may not want a woman on their job because they simply know a woman is going to be the first one to leave the workplace before a man. In a way to keep down any talk or fussing of the matter leaving the gap 10 to 40 percent unexplained is the best way to avoid the conversation of gender discrimination in the office.

Men in many situations and by default are considered the alpha male and this is a continued view in the workforce. While they are earning more money than their female counterparts they are acquiring less education. “Men in the United States, the researchers found, require less education to achieve higher pay.” (Paquette, 2016, Page 1). If a woman and a man are getting paid to do the same job and complete the same objective, why should a woman who spent more years and has more qualifications be paid less than a man with less qualifications? If this is the case for any job then it is obvious they are not necessarily looking at the credentials that the workers have other than their gender.

What about a man and woman who are both on a similar level of high achievement? Are they going to get the same amount of praise for their qualifications that they have to offer? They should but according to the Washington Post ,“The biology students in a 2016 study: the male students were ranked by their peers as the most knowledgeable, while females with the same grades were largely overlooked.”. (Paquette, 2016, Page 1). This here shows how the females who were on the same level as their male peers were not receiving the accolades that they had earned and were not viewed the same. If even their peers are not giving them the appreciation and acknowledgments that they had earned, what will employers do when looking at a woman applicant stacked up against a male applicant at or above the male’s level? A little thing such as not looking at the women as equal while having the same credentials makes a huge impact on how women may be getting paid and viewed n the workplace.

While women have been paid less than men for many years women are still apart of the working population but, where are they at? “A 2014 report from the National Women’s Law Center found women are two thirds of America’s 2o million low wage workers.” (GAO, 2010). Out of the 20 million wage workers in America women make up over half of them, which is not a good sign at all. Women getting paid less does not seem to make that much difference when it is up to 93 cents to every mans dollar but everything adds up and accumulates over time. “IWDR’s research shows that irrespective of the level or qualifications, jobs predominantly done by women pay less on average than jobs predominantly done by men.”(“Pay Equity and Discrimination, 2018, Page 1).

So at this point we are at a place where women are low wage workers and the fields that they predominantly work in, pay lower than male dominated work. This needs to be questioned more, why does the women dominated field have to have an automatically lower pay then men dominated fields? Women should be able to make money within the same range that men have at their grasp. This has to be one of the huge contributing factors of why women are such a huge part of the low wage workers in America, If there was an increase to cause a leveling on the playing field, then there is a possibility that this would lower the amount of low wage working women.

Along with being a woman comes the possibility of being a mother and having to take care of the children she chooses to have, she may end up with her having to take off of work. Being a mother means you have to make many sacrifices at home and at the workplace that single women would not necessarily have to make. “When young women start jobs, they typically earn nearly as much as young men. In one 2013 sample, among workers who were 25-34, women on average made 93 percent as much as men according to the Pew Research Center.”. (Paquette, 2016, Page 1).

Women in their youth are still not getting the same amount from their employers and this the range where most women have their children and are in the process of raising them. “The cultural emphasis on being the ideal mother, along with a corporate culture that demands long work hours, makes motherhood very difficult for women with careers” (“Gender Inequality and Women In the Workplace”, 2017, Page 1). Women are not getting the support that they need as a mother and the main caregiver of the household lowering their chances to do things that men that do not take time off for lowering access to items such as raises. With this happening, women are playing more of a game of catch up instead of being able to fully focus on the tasks that are at hand at their workplace.

“According to research, if change continues at the same slow pace as it has done for the last fifty years, it will all take 41 years or until 2059- for women to finally reach pay parity.” (‘Pay Equity and Discrimination”, 2018). With improvements and attempts to make things easier, we can move this process along we can have pay parity sooner than 41 years from now. If we lower the costs and increase women’s pay 7 percent then the gap would find its way closed making more progress that we have made over a fifty year time span. When we know that just about over half of the wage gap is unexplained but one of the reasons is because of motherhood while employed and care giving responsibilities, then it is our job as a people to find the best solution to handle this problem. Possible solutions that comply with this vision would be to give parental pay to men and women and subsidize the cost of childcare making the workforce more catering to the needs of women and their families.

Paying women and men with families for taking time off would be a very encouraging solution to help close the gap and bring equality in the workforce. Women with children would feel more comfortable with taking off all the while they are handling important business at home while still being able to maintain their jobs. Up to three months of time would be good and give mothers and fathers the comforting back of the mind sense that they can take off. “According to estimates slightly10 percent of the gender wage is due to women spending less time in the labor force than men, often stemming from these disproportionate family care responsibilities.” (Glynn, Fisher & Baxter, 2014). Women spend less time in the workforce so it would be a great move towards equality if child care was more available and cheaper for families. Men and women would evenly be able to share the parenting role and take time off from work, instead of having one risk more than the other.

With cheaper and easier access to these programs for families women would be able to fill in the time gap at work. “Furthermore research shows subsidizing the costs of childcare and providing paid parental leaves of up to six months would help women return to work sooner, and would help men to more equally share care.” (Elsesser, 2015, Page 1). With men being able to contribute and take off work such as women do the hours would be more even and used similarly. The costs may not match how much of an income that the person has and causes the need for them to come to work longer and more often, which becomes impossible due to the responsibilities at hand so subsidizing the cost of child care would be a great move forward in closing this gap. Most of the gap is based on hours and appearances at work which greatly impacts the women who has always been depended on to be the caregiver to the children. Paying for leave with small allowance of time off would allow men the space to know that their job supports them in taking a more active and interactive approach or being involved at his own household.

Simply if nothing is done to reverse effects of gender wage gaps there are More serious effects that effect both men and women, workplace or not. If you are getting paid less because you have sacrifices are you going to want to have children, especially if you want to move up in the workforce? The gender pay gap is surprisingly affecting the birth rates around the world. ‘According to a recent regression analysis of federal data by IWPR equal pay would cut poverty among working women and their families by more than half and add $513 billion to the national economy.’ (“Pay Equity and Discrimination”, 2017, Page 1). This statistic by the Institute for Women’s policy research encourages the idea that, women getting paid the same amount that men are being paid would actually help everyone out.

Analyzing this quote more directly, there are working women that are still poverty level and because they are not being paid the same amount of money they are more bound to struggle. ‘Since the 1980’s fertility rates have steadily declined around the world. In the United States the fertility rate 1.9.'(‘Gender Inequality and Women in the Workplace’, 2017, Page 1), The fertility rate is supposed to be 2.0 while America was down 0.1 and could possibly be decreasing more and more. The less money that women are making the less likely they would like to have kids, only proving more that this gap is more than 7 cents. Women are only doing what’s best to protect and do what’s in their best interest but only because their workforce is not doing so.

Another solution to this issue has been to list the wages that the employers in a facility or company makes. This idea is simply ludicrous and in its own mind is not a very smart one. Even though it puts everything out on the table, there is a slight preparation for discomfort in the office and change of opinions. Many companies have not done so but it is always an option for a worker to look if it is believed to be discrimination going on or a huge gap in pay. “According to the Guardian, New York based analytics company Sum All provides an online document so employees can view the salaries and any pay histories of all their colleagues.” (Elsesser, 2015, Page 1). With this as a company’s move there can be lots of privacy issues and end up in lawsuits. Also, all of the issues of missing work will not be acknowledged and taken care of. Women would still be missing large amounts of work time and fertility rates would possibly be declining more than the low rate they are at now. Showing all of the employees their colleagues the pay they receive would just be a misguided move and an unthoughtful move.

The gender gap is in reality a gap that not only affects the women in the workforce but the men too. This gap is affecting the fertility rate, percentage of low wage workers and all because women are expected to take the risks and chances that they make. Making sure that women and their parenting counterparts receive time off to raise and take care of their offspring and caregive would be very beneficial to the workforce of may women. Subsidizing the costs for the women and parents that want childcare would benefit to those out in the workforce also making more improvements. In a work system that does not cater to most of its people, these improvements would some of the greatest solutions to the gender gap.

Works Cited

  1. Elsesser, K. (2015, November 19). Two Solutions For The Gender Pay Gap That Can Be Implemented Today. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kimelsesser/2015/11/19/two-solutions-for-the-gender-pay-gap-that-can-be-implemented-today/
  2. Five Ways to Win an Argument about the Gender Wage Gap (Updated 2017). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://iwpr.org/publications/five-ways-to-win-an-argument-about-the-gender-wage-gap/
  3. J. (2017, April 13). Gender Inequality and Women in the Workplace. Retrieved from http://www.summer.harvard.edu/inside-summer/gender-inequality-women-workplace
  4. Glynn, S. J., Fisher, M., & Baxter, E. (n.d.). 7 Actions that Could Shrink the Gender Wage Gap. Retrieved from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/women/reports/2014/09/18/97421/7-actions-that-could-shrink-the-gender-wage-gap/
  5. Graf, N., Brown, A., & Patten, E. (2018, April 09). The narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/09/gender-pay-gap-facts/
  6. Office, U. G. (2011, November 03). Gender Pay Differences: Progress Made, but Women Remain Overrepresented among Low-Wage Workers. Retrieved from https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-10
  7. Paquette, D. (2016, March 08). It’s 2016, and women still make less for doing the same work as men. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/08/its-2016-and-women-still-make-less-for-doing-the-same-work-as-men/
  8. Pay Equity & Discrimination. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://iwpr.org/issue/employment-education-economic-change/pay-equity-discrimination/

Cite this paper

Gender Inequality in the Workplace: The Wage Gap. (2021, Oct 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/gender-inequality-in-the-workplace-the-wage-gap/



What factors contribute to the gender gap in wages?
There is a gender gap in wages because women earn less than men for doing the same job. This is usually because women have less experience than men, or because they are not in high-level positions.
What is the pay difference between male and female?
In the United States, women earn an average of 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. This wage gap exists across all racial and ethnic groups.
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