The Discriminatory Practice of Gender Wage Gap

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One of the many reasons there is so much belief diversity in our country today, is the controversial wage gap, the theory of unequal pay between men and women. The difference in pay has led to feminists to refer to the wage gap as “Wage Discrimination”. It has become common knowledge that women are paid less than men, but the statistics are never thoroughly regarded. Men are seen as the culprit for the reason for wage discrimination. Men are seen as the reasons women do not receive the same amount of money, 77 cents to a man’s dollar. The statistics also point towards men being paid more for simply being a man. But, the choices made by women are often the X factor missing in the reasoning for a wage gap. Although the gender wage gap exists to this day, The circumstances which provoke the gender wage gap are actually not discriminatory and dismiss the choices made that help create a wage gap. Women are constantly making decisions that directly affect the existing wage gap, such as beliefs, career choices, and personal choices.

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Women have been convinced that the wage gap is generally present and discriminatory, yet fewer women believe that these factors are not prevalent in their own workplace. According to the Pew Research Group, 62% of women generally believe in a wage gap, but only 14% of women believe that there is a wage gap in their respective workplaces, and 17 % of women feel as though they don’t receive equal opportunities (par. 3). Nearly a 50% gap between the two. Most women don’t recognize a wage gap in their workplaces because they do not feel as though they are discriminated against, hence the 83% that believe they receive equal opportunities. They conclude that the wage gap statistics do not astonish most women for the reason that they know what actions or choices they may have made in order to provoke a wage gap at their workplaces and these women are aware that no choices to provoke have been made. Thus no wage gap is created. Emily Ekins, the director of polling and researcher at The Cato Institute, states, ”The most common “major reason,” selected by 60 percent of women, was “different choices about how to balance work and family, while 28 percent of women believe it is men working more hours.” (Ekins par.9). The “major reason” is the most common reason the wage gap is created and only 28 percent of people believe the wage gap is due to men receiving more hours. Whilst the majority, 60 percent believe it is their choices made that create the wage gap. They are aware that it is not an unfair amount of hours a man receives simply because he’s a man, but because of the choices they make which does not discriminate anyone.

The wage gap did not spawn for no explainable reason, this information is a hidden factor in statistics that prove a wage gap is discriminatory. As stated before, the choices in which a woman makes is crucial for the volatile wage gap. The choices made by women such as jobs and life choices continue to widen the gender pay gap. It does seem a bit unfair to say that the decisions chosen by women allows the wage gap to exist, but these crucial choices have made the wage gap what it is today. According to a Labor Department Official, Charles E. James, stresses that The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers (Sommers par. 4). These choices include their putting their job over their family, children, at home labor, etc. These choices are thwarting women's ability to prosper and make choices without worrying, such as being a mother. Mothers tend to be more susceptible to the wage gap. Clair Cain Miller, Winner of 2018’s Pulitzer Prize, stresses, “...For college-educated women in high-earning occupations: Children are particularly damaging to their careers” (Miller par. 3). Women must make different choices to keep their pay gap smaller. It does seem unfair but these choices are crucial in this regard. Although it is a different case with every individual, it is these choices like these that increase the wage gap.

Not only do women make different life choices, but they also make different educational and career choices which result in another factor for the wage gap. Alison McGovern, a Labour Member of Parliament, did research on differences of genders choosing higher finance jobs. She concluded in research that men are typically more attracted to jobs that pay higher, as opposed to women who are more typically attracted to lower paying jobs (McGovern par. 18). Most women are attracted to careers centered more towards humanities or any job that lets their artistic ability be shown. While most men are attracted towards STEM-related careers. According to NACE salary survey, STEM jobs average pay was a small amount over $63,000, while for jobs with a humanities degree was a small amount over $50,000 ( p. 3). This is among the largest factors that ignite a wage gap because this is where all the money is actually accumulated as opposed to the other reasons, like choices, which are more related to cause and effect. Ultimately the wage gap comes down to the choices a person makes and whether it will affect this person or not.

On the Contrary, the women activists, often acclaimed as feminists, argue that even if women were to make the same choices as men in terms of career and life choices, the wage gap would continue to be provoked in the workplace. The people who argue for these reasons are known as feminists. They agree with individuals such as Clair Miller, The Labour MP as mentioned from before. A study conducted by The Upshot and recited in an article by Claire Miller says, “The average college-educated man, for instance, improves his earnings by 77 percent from age 25 to 45, while similar women improve their earnings by only 31 percent. ” (Miller Par. 19). Men are given a higher increase in their wages in the same time span as a woman whilst holding an equal level of education. This reasoning behind this according to most feminists is because men work more hours and are typically more committed to jobs, Thus giving them more bonuses and raises. Yet again, these statistics don’t include the different choices in careers as argued before.

Subsequently, the feminists not only believe the wage gap is in the workplace but also believe that it is discriminatory. The Economic Policy institute released a study in 2008 which conveyed the difference in pay from 1980s to 2008 and showed that as more women started to work, the wage gap became larger, (“Economic Snapshots”). Some women argue that even though more women are getting into higher paying jobs the wage gap continues to increase. These statistics are based on correlation and don't include any outside information or factors.

The wage gap is still a very sensitive topic and will continue to be. The number of factors that add up to make a wage gap are too many to account for. In an ideal world, the wages will be perfectly equal but again, there are too many factors that it would take a very long time until we find a solution, but until then the wage gap will continue to be provoked by all of the choices both men and women make.

Works Cited

  1. Ekins, Emily. 'The Gender Pay Gap Is Mostly a Myth.' Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2019. Accessed 10 Feb. 2019.
  2. Why everything you’ve been told about the gender pay gap is wrong, NewStatesmanAmerica, 21 Dec. 2017.
  3. Sommers, Christina Hoff. 'The Equal Pay Day Reality Check.' Gender Roles, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press,2014, Accessed 10 Feb. 2019.
  4. 'Table: Wage Gap Losses.' Working Women, edited by Christina Fisanick, Greenhaven Press, 2008. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, Accessed 10 Feb. 2019.
  5. Miller, Claire Cain. 'Motherhood Has Role In the Gender Pay Gap.' New York Times, 17 May 2017, Accessed 10 Feb. 2019.
  6. National Association of Colleges and Employers | 2017 Winter Salary     

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