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Gender Wage Gap Essay


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Gender Wage Gap

Half of the American workforce is made up of women yet their average earnings are lower compared to those of men (“Pay Equity & Discrimination | Institute for Women’s Policy Research”, n.d.). Women population in higher learning institutions is higher than that of men. Despite women earning more degrees, they are still stuck in low paying jobs.  For every 40 hours worked, women receive 80ct for every dollar paid to men. The equal wage pay Act was implemented decades ago but still little has been done regarding the issue. In the middle skill jobs, women employees earn only 66 percent in the same jobs that are done by men. Women working life is mainly affected by sex discrimination in payment, promotion and hiring (“Pay Equity & Discrimination | Institute for Women’s Policy Research”, n.d.).  The National Women’s Law reported that African American women make 17 percent of the total workforce and 33% of them are in low paying jobs such as fast foods, retail shops, heath care, and personal aides. Consequently, they are highly concentrated in jobs that pay 7.27 dollars an hour.  A 2017 report by Institute for Women Policy Research shows that if the slow pace in implementing equal pay continues, African American will have to wait until 2124, while Hispanics will wait until 2119 to receive justice  (“Pay Equity & Discrimination | Institute for Women’s Policy Research”, n.d.).

Women are taking part in world empowerment yet discrimination against them is still high. This discrimination dates back to the age of our forefathers when gender roles perceived women as care givers while men were providers.  In the 21st century, gender roles have changed and almost 15 million households in America are headed by women (Graf, Brown & Patten, 2018). American women are either sole or co-breadwinners. Despite taking male responsibilities, women are still considered unequal to men. The Equal Pay Act stresses that women and men should be pain the same amount of salaries and wages for equal number of hours worked, similar responsibilities and in the same establishment (Murphy, 2006). This was among the first anti-discrimination acts that fight against wage differences and protects all the parties in the workforce. Law protects all individuals regardless of their race, gender, sex orientation, religion and age (Graf, Brown & Patten, 2018). Persons airing their claims for protection by the act must produce evidence that they are working in an organization that pays them lesser than their counterparts for the same responsibilities. Although the Act has been helpful in some instances, unequal pay gap has not been closed. Today women are still paid 75cents for every dollar earned by men. The gender unequal pay does not only occur in America but across the globe and it may take a long period to close. The world economic report covered 142 countries and US was ranked 65th in unequal pay. Although Italy and Israel offer equal opportunities for men and women, ladies in the two countries earn 48% and 47% of the men salaries respectively (Murphy, 2006). In Denmark, the difference between men and women pay is only 2% since women are concentrated in well paying jobs. However, the difference would be higher if the positions held by women we given to men.

Motherhood is a major contributor of pay gap although the origin of this difference lies in more than one causes. 47% of American workforce is made up of women who upon getting parenthood responsibilities leave work frequently compared to men. Women are burdened by care giving responsibilities and in particular motherhood. Such responsibilities interrupt their career paths consequently affecting their long-term earnings. According to a survey conducted in 2013, it is more likely for women to take career breaks to take care of their families (Graf, Brown & Patten, 2018). On average, four in every ten women takes a significant amount of time off or reduces working hours to care for a family member or a child. Women workers with parental, medical or parental responsibilities take more time off compared to men after adopting or child birth. On average, women take 11 weeks off after birth or adoption while men are only given one week break (Graf, Brown & Patten, 2018) Mothers are also likely to claim that parenthood affects their career than it is for fathers.

Additionally, many employers do not offer flexible working schedules to favor women putting then to a disadvantage because they have to leave work to care for children. Women are often slapped with motherhood penalty upon returning to work after a six months leave. Employers believe that women are less productive since they have to leave work at some point. Sex discrimination cases are rampant and every year, thousands of cases are filed before the Federal Equal opportunity Employment Commission (Murphy, 2006).  Gender gap pay also cuts across ages as some employers believe that experience depends on age. Older women are perceived to be more experienced than younger ones. However, gender gap pay is higher on older workers. On the basis of qualification, women with similar papers with men are paid lower salaries (“Pay Equity & Discrimination | Institute for Women’s Policy Research”, n.d.). Nonetheless, this gap may be contributed by the major that women take in universities. This indicates that education may not be a solution to the wage gap.

To end this pressing issue, equal pay laws should be strengthened since despite their existence little has been done and women are unable to fight discrimination. Organization should be encouraged to improve their culture and adopt inclusive policies that fight against gender imbalances. Flexible working hours should also be made to ensure women are able to balance work and family. Awareness creation is also important as it will enable women to understand their rights and say no to unfair treatment at the workplace (Murphy, 2006). Barriers to entry on male-dominated courses should be eliminated. The minimum wage rate so that women in low paying careers can receive enough salaries for catering for their families. Affordable and safe reproductive care should be made available for all women to enable them get back to work within the shortest time possible.

In conclusion, full time year round women workers are paid 75 cents for every dollar paid to men and the difference is significantly wider for African Americans, Asians and Hispanics. Gender pay gap is a rampant worthy of attention from policy makers and women rights advocators. Despite existence of Equal pay Act for over 50 years and other anti-discriminator legislations regarding employment, women are still receiving unfair pay compared to their male counterparts. The difference in salaries and wages vary from state to state and affect women based on age, race, religion, and sex orientation. It affects women spending power and ability to save for the future. The gender gap can be solved by addressing the root cause of the problem to understand why women avoid highly compensated professions particularly, medicine, computer science and engineering. Other issues that require addressing revolve around gender bias in hiring, promotions and removing barriers that make women shy away from advancing their careers.


Graf, N., Brown, A., & Patten, E. (2018). Gender pay gap has narrowed, but changed little in past decade. Retrieved from

Murphy, E. (2006). Getting even: Why women don’t get paid like men–and what to do about it. Simon and Schuster.

Pay Equity & Discrimination | Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Retrieved from