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The Gender Wage Gap in the U.S Essay


Today’s society continues to argue about the subject of social inequalities even in cosmopolitan and first world countries like United States. Gender inequality is a subject that have been forgotten eventually since the women civil rights movement developed and they started gaining an equal right for work. Still, in U.S history, gender inequalities remain till today in relation to the workplace to some degree. The Gender Wage gap is considered a gender inequality, but could be also a result of the interaction of many factors such as education, hours of work, career, etc. Indeed, by definition it is a “statistical indicator” of the amount of money women’s earn in relation to men’s work salaries and calculated by dividing the median annual earnings of women with the median annual earnings of men (Brunner and Rowen, 2012; OECD).

The Wage Gap over History

Over history, after World War, I women had to take men’s work in factories till men came back from war. In addition, The National War Labor Board in 1942 agreed that they had to pay women and men equally for the same work and hours of work, but when men came back from war this did not happened and women had to leave their jobs to make room for men’s work. Thus, until 1960, newspapers presented articles to encourage women to take specific jobs different than men. For example, the New York Times published a wide amount of articles about homemaking to motivate women to stay at home and serve their husband and family. Besides, the different pay scales already existed, women with full time jobs gained between 59 and 64 cents from a dollar that men earned in the same job.

Later, on June 10, 1963 the Equal Pay act was exposed to claim that women could not receive a lower pay than male because of their sex but due to merit, seniority or quantity of work was justified. Over the next decade, two court cases appeared regarding to the “going market rate” for women: Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co. (1970), U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and stated that jobs needed to be substantially equal to fall into the right of receiving an equal wage. Then also, Corning Glass Works v. Brennan (1974), U.S. Supreme Court suggested that women could not be paid less because of working in jobs that men would not like to do, it was described as “unacceptable”.

The Wage Gap Today

Till 2012, women that worked full time earned 80.9% of men wages. Today, those percentages have arrived the 82.5%. According to the Washington Post newspaper article “Obama takes executive action to lift the veil of ‘pay secrecy’ ”, President Obama on April 1, 2014 described the gender gap in where women earned 77 cents from each dollar that men earned. In fact, He added that those statistics did not provide the factors that influenced the different pay wages among gender. Furthermore, due to this the Equal Pay Day 2014 also counted with the participation of both parts, in favor and against in a debate. Again, the arguments went around the factors that may produce these differences among wage and Mark J. Perry and Andrew G. Biggs republican economists of the American Enterprise Institute claim the Wage Gap to be a “myth”, they also suggested that the Paycheck Fairness act will produce side effects as women being hired from their jobs and they claim that the gender Wage Gap was due to women choose careers from liberal arts that tend to be less paid (Berman, 2014).

However, inequality has not only affected all women in similar degree. The Wage Gap is also persistent among Black, Hispanic and Asian women, due to they earn less than White women and less than Men of their same race. Earnings are high among Asian ($770) and White Women ($710) than for Blacks ($599) and Hispanics ($521). According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics these wages are due to factors as education, hours of work, career, etc. Overall, some of this factors could be considered as valid and others not. For example, the idea that women are paid less because of the jobs they choose appears as debatable.

Hanna Rosin the author of End of Men suggested that maybe is not the idea that women chose for the less paid jobs but the fact that the country does not supports and values women’s professions. Considering this, women have also been stereotyped to search for some jobs and career according to the National Organization for Women what have also affect women’s preferences for jobs. In addition, it is true that parenthood influences a lot in women’s jobs. According to a Pew Research Center survey, working women with children argue that being a working parent has made it harder for them to advance in their job or career. Furthermore, only 16% of men said that children have influence in their career or job.

Therefore, parenthood affects more women than men in their career and job what will influence the wage respectively due to women will be obligated to stay at home to take care of children and the family. For example, in 2012, n average women worked 35.8 hours per week compared with 40.8 hours for men according to the U.S bureau of labor statistics (2014). Although, some evidence that women and men are not paid equally among jobs is evident. A research study was conducted by Jagsi et al., (2012) with 800 physicians to determine whether wages are due to gender or factors like productivity, specialization, etc. The findings were that the mean salary within the participants was $167 669 (95% CI, $158 417-$176 922) for women and $200 433 (95% CI, $194 249-$206 617) for men. Indeed, men earned more than women even after the final model for specialty.

Therefore, researchers determined that there are gender differences even among a homogenous sample. In conclusion, the gender wage gap could differ from different factors such as education level, hours of work, career, specialty, etc till an unfair payment is some cases as was presented among history and today. Therefore, it is important that the government focus on regulating the wages to more equal ones as President Obama is concerned about. Besides, there are couple of ways for fixing this issue, not only with paying more to women but helping women in the working poor force specially to accomplish better payments, between other things.

Equality might result after a long-term process on trying to fix the gender wage gap but still it could be accomplished by working united in society motivating the development and practice of ethical values to find the way to justice. “I don’t care whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican; if you’re a voter, if you’ve got a daughter, you got a sister, you got a mom — I know you got a mom — this is something you should care about.” Equal Pay day (Obama, 2014).

Brunner,B., & Rowen, B. (2012). The Equal Pay act: A History of Pay Inequity in the U.S. Pearson Education Database 2007. Retrieved from http://www.infoplease.com/spot/equalpayact1.html Berman, J. (April 8, 2014). WSJ Op-Ed Page Not Too Sure About This ‘So-Called Gender Wage Gap’. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/08/gender-pay-gap-op-ed_n_5110934.html Chen, P. (June 28, 2012) Among Doctors, Too, Women Are Paid Less. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/28/among-doctors-too-women-are-paid-less/?action=click&module=Search®ion=searchResults&mabReward=relbias%3Aw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F%3Faction%3Dclick%26region%3DMasthead%26pgtype%3DHomepage%26module%3DSearchSubmit%26contentCollection%3DHomepage%26t%3Dqry167%23%2Fpay+discrepancy Eilperin, J. (April 8, 2014) Obama takes executive action to lift the veil of ‘pay secrecy’. The Washington Post. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/04/08/obama-takes-executive-action-to-lift-the-veil-of-pay-secrecy/ Jagsi, R., Griffith, K.A., Stewart, A., Sambuco, D., DeCastro, R. & Uberl, P.A. (2012) Gender Differences in the Salaries of Physician Researchers. The Journal of the American Medical Association Vol 307, No. 22. Retrieved from http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1182859 Pew Research Social & Demographic trends (December 11, 2013). On Pay Gap, Millennial Women Near Parity: For Now Despite Gains, Many See Roadblocks Ahead. Retrieved from: http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/12/11/on-pay-gap-millennial-women-near-parity-for-now/ U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014) Women in the Labor Force: A Databook (Report 1049). BLS Reports. Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/cps/wlf-databook-2013.pdf

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