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United States

Income Inequality- Gender Pay Gap

March 22, 2016

    Are women treated the same as men when it comes to their pay check? How does their race effect this? Overall, working women are paid less than men. Even 50 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, requiring men and women in the same workplace to earn equal pay, it’s still a problem (Chemaly).
    Did you know in 2014, a gap of 21% resulted from women being paid 79% of men’s income? Luckily, this gap has narrowed since the 1970s when it was 59%, largely due to men’s wages rising at a slower rate and women's progress in education. In recent years, this gap has stalled and unfortunately is not believed to go away anytime soon (Hill).
    Catherine Hill, Director of Research for the AAUW explains, "The gender pay gap is a product of the choices people think women and men should make, as well as the choices they actually make. Women's work has long been undervalued, and traditionally female jobs continue to pay less than traditionally male jobs… women working full-time earn just 77% of their male peers…" Hill and others, believe the gap is due to women making "choices" resulting in lower pay and gender discrimination.  
    Many people refuse to believe gender discrimination still exist, but research has proven otherwise. “The US Census American Factfinder reveals…  full-time pay inequities between women and men doing the same job.” For example, men physician and surgeons earn $190,726 compared to women who only earn $120,971. This is also true for the level of education one has received (Chemaly).
    Normally, it’s thought as years of education increase for men and women so does their earnings, but this is not evident. According to economists at The Wage Project, “over the course of a woman's lifetime… if she has a high school degree she will earn $700K less; a college degree, $1.2 million less and if she has a professional degree … $1.8 million.” Therefore, women’s earnings end up being less than men’s at each level of academic achievement.
    Similar to education, age has played an impact in the amount of income one receives. Age is more than just a number. Research has shown, “earnings for both female and male full-time workers increase with age, with a plateau after 45 and a drop after age 65.” In the gender pay gap, income increases with age, but the percent difference among older workers is considerably larger than the gap among younger workers. Until age 35, women earn about 90% of what men are paid. After age 35, the income percent gap between men and women fall between 76-81% (Hill). In conclusion, as women and men get older the gap between their incomes greatly increases; men receive substantially more than women.
    The pay gap also affects women from different backgrounds. For full time working white women the median annual earnings is 77 cents to a man's dollar. However, for women of color the gap is substantially greater. African American women earn 61 cents to the male dollar and Latina women earn 53 cents (Chemaly). In 2014, full-time working women of Hispanic, African American, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian ethnicity had lower earnings than non-Hispanic white and Asian American women. Yet, African American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian women experienced a smaller pay gap compared to men in the same group than non-Hispanic white and Asian American women (Hill).
    When it comes to their paycheck, women and men are treated with inequality. Even if they are the same race, age and educational level, the men's income is on average higher than the women's. It make take time, but a solution may be possible to the gap. Over time, companies could conduct salary audits to monitor the incomes between men and women. Another solution is for women to strategize negotiating tactics for equal pay. There are already salary negotiation workshops available to help empower women to advocate about their income. Lastly, spread the word. If we want to stop this gender pay gap, then we should tell more people about it which will hopefully make them want to help end this ongoing issue.

Works Consulted
Chemaly, Soraya. "Money Is Not More Important for Men Than Women." Opposing Viewpoints
    in Context. n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
Hill, Catherine. "The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2016)." AAUW:
    Empowering Women Since 1881. AAUW. n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
"Who Is Affected By The Wage Gap?" Women Are Getting Even. The Wage Project, Inc., n.d.
    Web. 05 Mar. 2016.


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