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The Difference in Men and Women in the Work Force
One of the most significant advances of the past century is undoubtedly the convergence of male and female roles in the work force of many organizations (Vink, Blok, Formanoy, De Korte & Groenesteijn, 2012). The previously unfathomable gap has narrowed to a phenomenal degree and more so, concerning work force participation, occupations, salaries and wages, hours worked at home, higher education certifications, as well as lifetime work force experiences (Goldin, 2014). This has especially been evident among progressive European nations, Canada and the US (Stensöta, 2012); (Vink, Blok, Formanoy, De Korte & Groenesteijn, 2012). This paper will however focus as to ascertaining whether the differences between men and women in the work force can be seen in the earning variances of the two genders.
Background of the Study
As from the inauguration of the memorable 20th Century, there were notable transformations concerning work force participation and the progress of the female gender to date is clearly evident (Goldin, 2014). The reasons for such changes are indeed numerous but one thing has remained constant. Women have throughout the over 100 years earned from very low earnings in comparison to men in the same job groups to earning just marginally less in the 21st Century (Stensöta, 2012); (Vink, Blok, Formanoy, De Korte & Groenesteijn, 2012). The same has been true regardless of whether women had or have superior education credentials or university certifications compared to men (Goldin, 2014). However, such disparities have not stymied the participation of women in the work force or any other similar factor for that matter (Stensöta, 2012). For instance, lifetime work force experiences for women surpassed that of men while women’s years in education also surpassed those of their male counterparts. On the same note, enrollment of the female gender to college and graduate courses doubled such they are now respected leaders in fields like pharmacy, biological sciences and even veterinary medicine.
This research paper seeks to answer the question;
Has the difference in men and women in the workforce also narrowed down relative to earnings?
This paper will use a review of available literature and the empirical data contained therein to present a basis for attaining the relevant data. Consequently, the data found herein will be used to analyze the difference of women and men in the work force before entering into the discussion section and lastly, draw conclusion.
There are numerous ways and means to measure gender inequality not only in the work force in most organizations but in the broader economy as well. Given that this paper seeks to investigate earning differences between men and women, a little focus will delve into the differences in the earning of the two genders relative to the economy (Goldin, 2014). This is in essence because wages and salaries earned from being a participant in a work force translates earnings as a unit of time, also referred to as the wage. It is important to point out that relative earning gained from participating in a workforce is valued not only economically but also socially (Stensöta, 2012); (Vink, Blok, Formanoy, De Korte & Groenesteijn, 2012). As a result, earnings have on numerous occasions in the past century led to the formation and subsequent development of social movements. For instance, during the 70’s American women conglomerated in a social movement for economic equality dubbed 59 cents to the US dollar (Goldin, 2014). More recently, the mantra for the social movement by women for economic equality used the mantra 77 cents on the US dollar. Both movements were aimed at calling for equality concerning pay in the work force.
The wage can be described as an immediate statistic depicting an adult’s education, previous work force experience, education, as well as forecasted future expectations (Goldin, 2014). On the same note, the difference in women and men in the work force concerning the wage has in the past and also in the present employed to summarize difference in human capital productivity (Stensöta, 2012); (Vink, Blok, Formanoy, De Korte & Groenesteijn, 2012). Such is the case relative to the two genders capabilities as perceived in labor markets. It is important to note that the inherent differences concerning human capital abilities for both genders have greatly narrowed in in most cases, eliminated.
The average annual earnings ratio between the two genders in the work force was found to be 0.72 in the year 2010. This relates to those individuals working full time throughout the year and aged between 25 and 69 years (Goldin, 2014). The median for this statistic was found to be 0.77. The medians ratio of this very group was found to be 0.74 in the year 2000 but a paltry 0.56 in the year 1980 (Goldin, 2014). These aggregated ratios are considered as having been sticky in the past decade and increasing significantly in prior decades, more so, during the 80’s. When viewing the increases concerning college graduates for both genders, the two ratios that is the median and mean have been lower, for instance, in the year 2010, the mean ratios stood at 0.65 while the median ratios were recorded as 0.72 (Goldin, 2014). This is largely similar to the ratios recorded for both the median and mean in the year 2000. It is important to point out that throughout the previous ten years; the gap in remuneration between men and women in the work force has evidently narrowed among nearly every age group as much as the aggregate remained fairly stagnant (Stensöta, 2012).
Figure 1: Progressive decline of differences in men and women earnings in the workforce in the 20th and 21st Centuries. (Sourced from http://www.dol.gov/wb/overview_14.htm)
When women and men enter into a work force, both begin employment with fairly similar earnings regardless of whether they are full time workers or part time workers (Huws, 2014). However, for the later worker group, average earnings tend to range at about 90% (Goldin, 2014). The ratios evidently fall in some cases declining to under 70%. It is critical to note that the ratios are seen to rise again after individuals attain the age of 40 (Goldin, 2014). As such, aggregate earning in women and men in the work force tends to significantly rise in the initial decades of the working life.
It is critical to look into how earnings differ relative to occupation in the two genders in a work force. As such, one can point out that occupation also translates to differences in earnings (Goldin, 2014). However, earnings by women tend to be lower compared to that of men working in similar occupations. This is regardless of age, education as well as the hours per week, month or year put into the occupation. Technology occupations have been found to present the least differences in earnings for men and women with regard to earnings (Huws, 2014). According to previous research findings, most women tend to fare poorly in contemporary technology occupations. As such, it is believed that a great number of women are projected to be poor performers and thus, leave these occupations for other occupations such as teaching science (Goldin, 2014). On the same note, it is project that most men who excel in the technology occupations tend to set up their own companies.
As much as there have been significant changes in the previous century with huge headways being realized in reducing the vast gap between men and women earning in the workforce, attaining equality is still work in progress. The social movements formed in the second half of the 20th Century championed for the gap to be narrowed but the positive outcomes expected have been hampered by other factors. These factors have largely been external though having major implications in how organizations operate and therefore, make earnings. Recent data from 2010 shows that the mean and median ratios have increased indicating better parity thus eliminating prior differences in men and women in the work force. By extension, this implies that women are in the 21st Century earning improved wages have better education and more so, work in vast professional fields.
It has taken humanity eons to appreciate that women have a greater role to play in furthering human development. Many factors in the first part of the 20th Century led to the gender being incorporated into the work force though for very limited roles which they left behind soon after marriage or otherwise, child birth. As this paper has shown, the work force differences have declines significantly for one to project that in the next few decades, this parity may actually be achieved. However, this conclusion is only subjective as numerous factors come into play such as political, cultural, biological and even social differences between the two genders. By and by, in the work force, one is bound to see more equity as well as equality among progressive organizations.
Goldin, C. (2014). A grand gender convergence: Its last chapter. The American Economic Review, 104(4), 1091-1119.
Huws, U. (2014). Labor in the global digital economy: The Cybertariat Comes of Age. New York, NY: NYU Press.
Stensöta, H. O. (2012). Why are gender differences in the Swedish parliament diminishing? Inter-parliamentary and Extra-parliamentary Causes. Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift, 114(1).
Vink, P., Blok, M., Formanoy, M., De Korte, E. & Groenesteijn, L. (2012). The effects of new ways of work in the Netherlands: national data and a case study. Work, 41(Supplement 1), 5081-5085.
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