RIDDING THE WORLD OF THE GENDER WAGE GAP American women have made tremendous amounts of progress down the path to gaining full equality. However, women still do not receive equal pay for equal work. There are some who refuse to believe the existence of a gender wage gap, but it is a common problem in the United States. The wage gap is the statistical indicator used to indicate the status of women’s earnings relative to men’s. The wage gap is usually expressed as a percentage, for example in 2012 women earned 80. 9 percent of what a man’s income was.
The gap is calculated by dividing he median annual earnings for women by the median annual earnings for men (Brunner). While the United States has made progress combating the wage gap by passing legislation to suppress the issues, the wage gap still persist. In contrast to the United States, European countries have been more successful in combating the gap, through the creation of several programs, laws, and policies. Historically, the wage gap has been hard to track and measure, because in the past the workforce has had few women and gender segregation. It was not until the World Wars that women began to make permeant inroads into the workforce in America.
During the wars, the National War Board urged wartime employers to voluntarily equalized pay for men and women, however, there were no consequences for not equalizing pay. Do to the lack of penalties, the message about equalizing pay were largely ignored, leading to women being paid less. While many women were pushed out once the wars were over, the overall percentage of women in the workforce grew. However, the growing number of women in the workforce largely only found work in lower paying professions. One way that the wage gap has grown throughout history is because of employers refusing to consider women for certain ccupations.
In the 1900s, it was common practice for newspapers to publish separated job listings basis on gender. These newspapers categorizing jobs according to sex, not qualifications. The labor intensive and higher position were limited almost exclusively to the male column (Brunner). Social scientists call this separation of jobs, occupational segregation. Figure 1 shows occupations that have the highest percentage of women workers; this shows that jobs occupied by women pay annually a median wage of $32,044. On the other hand, figure 2, shows that the median annual wage for the top male jobs is $36,911.
Occupational segregation is one reason for the difference in wages. Women are trapped in traditional occupations, which pay less contributing to the wage gap. Occupation % Female Annual Wage Dental hygienists 98. 6% $60,980 Preschool and kindergarten teachers97. 7%$21,990 Secretaries and administrative assistants 96. 9% $26,670 Dental assistants 95. 4%$29,520 Speech-language pathologists 95. 3% $54,880 Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses 94. 2%$35,230 Child care workers 94. 2% $17,050 Hairdressers, hairstylists and cosmetologists 93. 4% $20,610 Receptionists and information clerks 92. 7% $22,150 Payroll and timekeeping clerks 92. 4% $31,360 Figure 1 The 10 Most Female Occupations (Traditional) Occupation % Male Annual Wage Logging workers 99. 8% $29,430 Automotive body and related repairers 99. 4%$34,810 Cement masons, concrete finishers and terrazzo workers 99. 3% $32,030 Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists 99. 1%$36,620 Electrical power-line installers and repairers 99. 1%$50,150 Tool and die makers 99. 1 % $43,580 Roofers 98. 9%$31,230 Heavy vehicle/mobile equipment service technicians and mechanics 98. 6% $39,410 Home appliance repairers 98. 5% $32,980 Crane and tower operators 98. %$38,870 Figure 2 The 10 Most Male Ocupation (Traditional) Discrimination within the hiring process has not faded into history, it is still prevalent in today’s job market for several pread reason for discrimination in hiring is laid out in a conversation that Forbes staffer Meghan Casserly had with her mother about hiring new employees: Twould worry that the guy wouldn’t be able to earn enough to support a family.
But l’d also worry that the girl would be taking time off to get married and have kids and we’d have to pay her through maternity leave which is rough on the budget (Casserly). This ialogue clearly shows just how much gender still plays into who gets hired today and what kind of jobs women can get. One of the most recent attempts to close the wage gap was made by President Barack Obama. In 2009, President Obama signed into law the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act. This reasons. One wid act rewrote the law that stated if a worker had been discriminated against in their pay, that workers only had 180 days from their first unfair paycheck to file a complaint. This law as it stood meant that many of the complaints about discrimination in pay were made too late.
With the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act the timeline was changed to allow the filing of a complaint with the government against their employers 180 days from their last paycheck. This makes making a complaint much easier for workers. Despite overwhelming evidence, there are people that still deny that there is a gender wage gap, referring to as a bogus statistic that will not go away (Sommers). People who do not believe that the wage gap exist argue, “[women] are now earning a higher salary than men and if they choose to make the decision to stay in the workforce, they are more likely to be promoted than their male counterparts” (Andrews).
While there are few studies that support this, the main issue that this raises is that of the women having to choose whether or not to stay in the workforce. In today’s workplace, many women have to choose between families and promotions. While men are not penalized for becoming parents, women will often see their earning power reduced because they have to take time off for childbirth or childcare. Women should not be made to choose whether they want careers or families. The wage gap is not a problem that is limited to the American borders. One area of the world that has been working hard to eliminate the gender wage gap is Europe.
Europe has developed several programs to combat the wage gap; these programs could be beneficial for the United States to adopt. Most of the programs are geared towards keeping women in the workforce. One method to keeping women in the workforce is through making it easier to have children and a job. In a New York Times, CBS News, Kaiser Family Foundation poll of non-working adults, ages 25-54 in the United States, 61 percent of women said that family responsibilities were a reason they weren’t working, compared to only 37 percent of men.
Great Britain allows women to have a year of maternity leave, much of this is paid eave (Miller). This is a very generous policy when compared to how maternity leave is handled in the United States. In the United States, women receive up to 12 weeks of maternity leave. However, it is up to the employer whether or not the leave is full, partly, or unpaid. Paid maternity leave is a burden on many employers, leading many to only offer unpaid maternity leave. This forces many mothers to get back to work as soon as the birth is over or decide to leave the workforce in order to raise a child. The gender wage gap is a significant issue in American society and throughout the world.
Although programs and laws have been created to combat the wage gap, it is still an issue that the world seemly does not have an answer for yet. With many refusing to believe the issue in the first place, the progress in ridding the world of the gap is slow. There are signs of progress, for example in Ireland the number of female lawyers is higher than the male lawyers. This is significant because this the first time in Ireland, maybe in the world, that women have become more prevalent in a man dominated career. (Kearney). However, there is still a long way to go before women will receive equal pay, for equal work.