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The Gender Wage Gap - And Why I Believe It Needs To Be Closed

March 14, 2019

             The Gender Wage Gap - And Why It Needs to Be Closed
    “The difference between the amounts of money paid to women and men, often for doing the same work -- This is known to many as the controversial gender wage gap (Cambridge English Dictionary). The gender wage gap is known to be present in a long list of countries, and ranking among others is the United States. In the US, year after year, a large portion of women are consistently paid less than men for performing the exact same job, regardless of having similar credentials and exhibiting knowledge about their field. In order to eliminate the physical and psychological tolls inflicted upon women facing this disparity in pay, we need to close the gender wage gap and promote equal pay and treatment in the job industry.
In a world where 12.7  percent of Americans live below the poverty line (Semega, Fotenot, & Kollar) 13% struggle to pay their bills (Federal Reserve), and 31% say they are struggling to get by, $13,565 could be a godsend to many families. In New Hampshire, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families in 2016, that number was the difference in salary between the median annual pay of a man who held a full time job and worked year long and a woman who had experienced the same conditions. Women were paid about 76 cents per a man’s dollar. This is evidence that not only does the gender wage gap affect the women herself, it affects her family and their lives, and denies them food, housing, education, and other necessities they may be lacking.  Paying women less alters their lives and changes them for the worse, all because of misunderstanding and disregard towards women and their needs. Conversely, with equal pay, a single mother raising three children can provide food for her family, a young widow might avoid being evicted from her house, and a child whose family couldn’t pay for his surgery may live to see the future. With sufficient money, these problems might be resolved, but the lack of monetary resources can leave these plights irresolvable. To provide needed money to struggling families, we need to close the gender wage gap.
The second reason that we need to close the gender wage gap is because of the psychological effects that it has on women.  Depression and anxiety in the workplace are common effects of a stressful work life, and many people suffer from these disorders every year. However, when experts dug into the numbers, they found that there was a specific trend in who was at greater risk to succumb to these disorders - women being paid less than their male coworkers. A study conducted by Jonathan Platt, MPH matched up women with their male coworkers according to industry, age, and marital status. The results showed that when women were paid equal to or more than men were, risk of depression was similar to that of men; however, when women were paid less, the odds were seen to be 2.43 times higher.
The results depict how unequal pay can go farther than hurt feelings, and proceeds to inflict mental distress on those women. It may cause them to obtain detrimental views of themselves, such as feeling worthless, a proven side effect of depression. Receiving less than their supposedly “equal” coworkers may lead women to believe that they are in fact, not equal, which certainly is not the case. Paying women less as if they are overall, less important, is an inaccurate representation of women’s role in society. Although not all women receiving less compensation suffer from these disorders, a great deal of them do,and an increase of more than double the rate of depression in men is nothing to be taken lightly. Depression can do more than muddy a woman’s perspective of herself; there are more severe effects that come with it. An article taken from Fairview states that depression can do the following: make simple mental tasks more strenuous, cause a lack of appetite, may induce physical pain such as headaches and stomachaches, affects the sleep cycle, and drain the body of energy. Paying women less and causing them to suffer the harsh consequences is severely affecting their mental health, and can lead to thoughts of self harm or suicide.  In order to prevent a higher risk of harmful habits and thoughts, we need to seal the gender wage gap.
Although there is much fact supporting this claim, the topic of the gender wage gap is one of extreme controversy, and many people believe that women are paid less for a good reason -  women aren’t as educated or experienced as men are. Many people believe that the gender wage gap is based on fact rather than bias, which is far from the truth.This could most definitely be true in some cases, and if women were only paid less when they had been educated less, the gender wage gap might be backed up by reasoning. However, a study conducted by AAUW shows this is not the case. The American Association of University Women administered a study that filtered the median weekly earnings by education and gender. By studying the depicted graph, it is clear that at all stages of education, men are paid more than women. For example, taking the highest level of education charted, men with advanced degrees are paid on the average, $1,737 a week, whereas women are paid $1,291 for the same period of time, only 74% of what men are making(AAUW). The results prove this theory invalid by showing that no matter how educated a woman is, there is a substantial chance that a man of equal education will make more than she will.
At the rate we are currently at, the gender wage gap is predicted to close in 2059(IWPR). That means not only women, but families as a whole will continue to struggle for years to come. This is why the gender wage gap needs to be closed. By eliminating the gender wage gap, we are eliminating the physical and psychological distress inflicted on households around the United States and bettering the lives of many. What next?  Articles have been written and speeches have been given; now all that’s left to do is turn those words into our reality.


                                                 Works Cited
Cook, Josie R. “The Gender Pay Gap Won't Close Until 2059, New Census Data Finds, & Here's Why.”Institute for Women's Policy Research, 4 Jan. 2018,
Miller, Kevin.  “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap.” AAUW: Empowering Women Since 1881,
Shah, Anup. “Poverty Facts and Stats.” - Global



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1 Comment
  • Christy Wisdom

    Just wanted to say this here, since I don't know when you'd get it if I wrote it in a review. Did you mean to say bias where fact is, and fact where bias is? Referring to this line: "Many people believe that the gender wage gap is based on fact rather than bias, which is far from the truth."

    about 1 year ago