The Gender Wage Gap: Equal Pay For Equal Work

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The gender pay gap is the gap between what men and women are paid. The gaps range from job to job, the country you live in, or what state you live in. Many people believe that the gender gap needs to be fixed because it is unfair for men to make more money than women for completing the same job. Throughout the paper, I will talk about the different jobs (some that pay both genders the same and ones that don’t), the groups/organizations that are trying to fix the problem by advocating for more fair wages, and how things are around the world, just not the United States. The changes we can make now can benefit women in the future.

The wage gap is almost prevalent in all occupations and industries. It is the result of many factors including, occupational segregation, bias against working mothers, and direct pay discrimination. Things such as racial bias, access to education, age, etc., also come into play. For example, African American women only make sixty-one percent of white-men’s earnings (2017) (Miller). On average, a woman earns eighty point five cents for every dollar a man earns, and women’s median annual earnings are ten thousand and eighty-six dollars less than a man’s (Miller). Being a financial manager, a man’s earnings are $100,575, while a woman’s is only $65,237. That means that annually women are paid nineteen billion less than men in this specific job (Miller). Another example of unfair pay between men and women is the occupation of physicians and surgeons. The gap between them is another whopping nineteen billion dollars a year (Miller). They’re performing the same jobs, so why are they still getting paid less? According to multiple sources, such as the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the pay gap will not close for another forty to fifty years. There are some professions where women are paid the same or more than their male counterparts (“Pay Equity & Discrimination”). As a medical assistant, women make a weekly median salary of five hundred and ninety-seven dollars, and men make forty-seven dollars less at five hundred and fifty dollars (Blumberg). Another job where women make more is electrical and electronics engineers. They make a weekly median salary around two thousand dollars, while men only make about fifteen hundred dollars (Blumberg). There are jobs where women are paid equally, but the options are very slim. Giving women more equal and fair pay can cause them to go into career fields where they believed they wouldn’t get paid fairly, and they could help put their input and knowledge in that could make a positive change.

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In Melania Varnell’s essay, “Unequal Pay for Equal Work,” she states the following : “The ongoing issue of the past has now become an evident problem in our modern-day society.” (Varnell). Varnell is telling everyone that this issue has been a persistent problem throughout the years, and needs to be fixed. In result of that, others have taken charge for a change for women’s rights. The Equal Pay Today! Campaign was launched on the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act by the national and state-based women’s legal advocacy and worker justice organizations to close the gender wage gap. Their website gives information about their goals, committee, and links to other reliable and supportive resources. One of the links can lead you to the National Women’s Law Center website where it presents you an article titled, “The Wage Gap: The Who, How, Why, and What To Do.” (“Equal Pay Today, A Project Of Equal Rights Advocates”). In the section labeled, “What We Need To Do To Achieve Equal Pay,” it lists off several productive ways we can solve this problem : “Build ladders to better paying jobs for women by removing barriers to entry into male-dominated fields. Establish fair scheduling practices that allow employees to meet their caregiving responsibilities and other obligations.” (“The Wage Gap: The Who, How, Why, and What To Do”). Time Magazine published a piece titled, “10 Powerful Women on How #MeToo Has Changed the Fight for Equal Pay,” on April 18, 2018. Ahead of Equal Pay Day, TIME spoke with ten powerful female leaders and executives about their thoughts on equal pay, and they had a lot to say. Ariana Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global and Founder of the Huffington Post, was asked on how the fight for equal pay is changing. “What’s changing now is consumer pressure – more and more people, especially young people, expect and even demand that the brands they identify with align with certain core principles. And that increasingly means equal pay and diversity. There’s also the fact that companies with more diversity in their leadership perform better,” Huffington answered. Jennifer Hyman, CEO and co-founder of Rent the Runway was also asked a similar question as Huffington. “This is a moment where employees should band together and advocate for themselves, because corporations and leaders are listening now more than they ever had in history. So if women in an organization were to ban together and demand equal pay, there’s more of chance that’s going to happen now and there will be attention around the issue than there would’ve been a few years ago,” Hyman explained concerning her thoughts about the #MeToo and Times Up’s impact on the equal pay fight. (Calfas).

The gender pay gap is an issue around the world, not just in the United States. In the realms of healthcare and education, full gender equality may soon be in sight. The World Economic Forum has declared the health outcomes gender gap to be ninety-six percent closed, while the education gap is ninety-five closed. But when it comes to economic opportunity, the gender gap is wide open, and 2017 figures show it is getting wider. On current rates, it will take two hundred and seventeen years for women to reach economic parity with men. The Middle East and North Africa region has the farthest to go, with its gender gap projected to close in five hundred and eighty years, while in sub-Saharan Africa, economic parity is sixty-six years away (“The Gender Pay Gap”). Women do not have equal rights all over the world, which contributes to the fact that they may be a larger gap between them and men in their own country. In places around the world, women aren’t allowed to do things that we may see as everyday normal actions. For example, in the summer of 2018, Saudi Arabia became the last remaining country to allow women to drive. (Wirtschafter). It’s a historic event that people will remember, especially the women getting to experience a type of freedom they’ve never had before. Being able to do basic, regular activities is women should always be allowed to have the option to do.

Overall, women deserve to be paid fairly, just like their male counterparts. Throughout hundreds of countries and jobs, women face a variety of unfair wages. Things aren’t going to change overnight, but if we keep pushing for equality, then our goal will be reached. Some may see it as a false statement, but the wage gap is real and once its fixed, the women around the world will benefit from it.

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