Essay about Gender Wage Gap Analysis

Men and women are both capable of successfully occupying the same positions or jobs. Both genders are capable of attaining the same education, working at the same firm, and moving up the ladder while being productive in their occupation. Even though men and women are equal in theses aspects, the wages they are being paid do not show that equality. Men make more than women in the same occupations. This is a significant issue as it allows discrimination to continue and makes it more difficult for a woman with equal qualifications as a man to move past the glass ceiling and reach her full potential.

Historically women have been the homemakers. Women’s typical roles have been caring for the children and tiding up the home while the male in the relationship is the breadwinner. Society has progressed so far in such a short amount of time and now it is finally mainstream for women to occupy the same positions as men and sometimes even become the breadwinners. In 1963, the Equal Pay Act was signed making it illegal for employers to pay different wages to men and women who do the same work. At the time when the bill was passed women were only making 54 cents to every dollar a man made. Since the Equal Pay Act was passed, the wage gap has decreased by quite a bit, but denying its existence completely would to be not be looking at the full picture. When women are placed in positions of power they still are not making the same as their male counterparts which is hurting not only them but their family’s income. Even though women are much more socially accepted into these roles there is still a bias that exists from these centuries of discrimination that men are the providers and therefore more efficient in their position.

Part of the Human Capital Model suggests that some inequality may be necessary to get people to invest in the skills they would need to be able to sell back to the market. In an article published by NPR, Equal Pay for Equal Work: Not Even College Helps Women, suggests that even if women are willing to invest in their education and acquisition of marketable skills, the payoff still won’t be as large. So the question that should be being asked is why are men and women with similar experiences and the same education bringing home different paychecks. A study done in 2009 found that more than 47 percent of women paid more than 8 percent of their income towards their student loans while only 39 percent of men pay over 8 percent of the income on student loans. The article points out that in sales, women with college degrees are only making 77 percent of what men make (Coleman). It does not seem rational that gender plays such a huge role in earnings even though a man and a woman can accomplish the same amount of success in the same position.

It has been found that women who take time off work to focus on raising their children face harsh consequences in wages when returning to work. This would make sense since they lose out on some potential experience, but they pay a price for having children while men do not. Women who have children are thought to work less hours and be more preoccupied. The bias leads to less promotions and lower pay. Meanwhile, men who have children are typically paid more or are more likely to be hired. Men’s earning increase by more than 6 percent when they have children while women’s earning fall by more than 4 percent (Miller). Men who have children are seen as more dependable and loyal which would suggest that these traits would cross over to their work life as well. These traits in women are being overlooked for each child they have. It is a mindset that women are incapable of both raising their children and reaching their full potential in their career that plays a very large role in their earnings.

The wage gap does not just affect those who are leaving the work force for a period of time or having children. The wage gap also comes from the societal discrimination that tends to encourage women to take secondary positions. Toys that are created for children influence their decisions at such a young age that can carry over into their future. Girls are given toys that are pink or purple and are not encouraged to play with toys such as Legos. Boys are told things like “boys do not cry” and are not encouraged to play with Babies. If either gender plays with these opposite stereotypical toys they are negatively labeled as gay or abnormal. Most individuals would prefer to go with what is the social norm and so that is what leads to less male nurses or fewer women construction workers. When women are being forced into these supporting roles such as secretaries or nurses then they are missing out on the income they could be taking in if the social norms allowed them to take the higher level jobs without any negative connotation. When all of society has the mindset that women are more of a supportive rule then they are more likely to be overlooked for job advancement and more men are hired (Carter, Ibarra, Silva).

When it comes to education, The Economics of Women, Men, and Work suggests that sexism in the classroom also leads to why women take on supporting positions. It discusses how this discrimination starts at early as preschool when teachers are more likely to praise boys more or give them more detailed instructions (Blaue, Ferber, Winkler 171-173). This leads to encouraging boys to focus on more difficult subject areas such as math or science which would be the higher paying jobs later on in life. When discrimination occurs in the classroom, the school doesn’t have to pay a price for it (Sowell 73-75). They aren’t given a discrimination coefficient to pay and no penalties for the obvious preference.

Although there are many things that play a role in the wage difference between men and women, discrimination and society’s perceptions are the most detrimental in achieving equality and they perpetuate the wage gap between the genders. Society carries on the mindset that the men are the providers and therefore allow them to move the ladder with less effort than women. Women are penalized for having families and are forced to spend more of their income on bills and lead a lower quality level of life. It makes no logical since for two people of the same qualifications and experience to have different wages based on their gender.

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