Latest News Opinion

Point and Counter-Point: Gender Wage Gap

Opinion 1

By: Maggie Valentine, sophomore Political Science Major

As a woman who is getting ready

to enter the workforce, the wage gap is an issue that I have paid a lot of attention to. When I join the workforce, I want to get paid the same as a man would for doing the exact same job; however, for most women, this is far from being a reality.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), in 2017 women who worked full-time, year-round jobs made only 80.5 cents for every dollar that their male colleagues would make.

The wage gap has been making extremely slow progress for the last 50 years, and the IWPR reports that at this rate, equal pay will not be achieved until 2059 at the earliest, but women of color will have to wait even longer. The predicted year for women of color achieving equal pay is 2124 (IWPR, 2018).

On top of getting paid less, it actually costs more to be a woman. Women have to pay approximately 7% more for products marketed as feminine or “for her” than men do for products that are marketed as masculine or “for him” (New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, 2015).

So, why are women earning less than men? Lasting discrimination and sexism in the workplace is the main cause of unequal pay. The possibility of becoming a mother and having to take time off to raise children is one of the main causes of pay disparities.

Also, women are perceived to be less productive in the workplace than their male counterparts are, because of the antiquated biases that exist. One of the first steps that must be taken to address the wage gap is acknowledging and working to remove the gender biases that exist in society.

Working to remove the wage gap takes everybody, not just women. Organizations like the United Nations “He for She” and LeanIn, started by Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, encourage both men and women to become involved in movements for women’s empowerment, including targeting the wage gap.

Engaging in conversations about the wage gap are important, but it also takes direct action to see direct change. It is time for these biases to be removed from society so that women can truly be seen as equal in the workforce. It is time that women are actually paid equally for doing the same jobs.


Opinion 2

By: Blake Wilson, senior Political Science major

At some point in your life, you have likely heard the claim that women in America make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. If this is true, we can naturally assume that this is due to some terribly sexist workplace discrimination, right? Well, ladies, I have got some great news for you: that is not the case at all.

The 77 cents figure comes from the U.S. Census Bureau in a 2011 report that compared the median annual income of all full-time working men to all full-time working women. This completely ignores factors such as hours worked, level of experience, level of education and industry type.

Across the board men generally, spend more time working than women do. According to a 2017 time use survey by the U.S. Department of Labor, for people that work, the average number of hours worked per day for men was 8.04 and for women was 7.25.

On top of this, men tend to work more overtime. A 2014 study from the American Sociological Review points out that “by 2000, over 14 percent of workers (19 percent of men and 7 percent of women) worked 50 hours per week or more.”

In many occupations, working these extra hours is critical to being able to compete for promotions, so this could possibly explain the lack of female executives in the American workforce.

Men and women also make dramatically different career choices. In an article for The Daily Beast, Christina Hoff Sommers observes the different choices in college majors.

“Of the ten most remunerative majors compiled by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, men overwhelmingly outnumber women in all but one of them,” said Sommers. The article also goes over the ten lowest paying majors, of which all but one are majority women.

When looking at two distinctly different groups of people, there’s no reason to assume they will both be making the same amount of money on average. Different personal choices will yield different results.

After all, there is a similar wage gap between Asian men and White men in America. In their 2017 report “Women In the Labor Force: A Databook,” The Bureau of Labor statistics show that in 2015, White men made 81 cents for every dollar an Asian man made. Does this mean there is an Asian supremacist conspiracy to keep the White man down? Of course not.

So to all the young women reading this, about to enter the workforce in the next few years, I hope I have put your mind at ease. Whether you want to become a teacher, a stay at home mom, or a corporate executive, your life and your career are in your own hands.

Don’t let this one misleading statistic get you down. With that, I leave you with some inspiring words from President Donald Trump, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.”


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