The gender wage gap issue in the United States is one that has been tackled on and off for years. Earlier this year, as April 12 or Equal Pay Day approached, the issue once again surfaced. Although today’s working women have achieved professionally, there is still a significant gap in terms of earnings. The primary factors that contribute to this as education, occupation type, work hours, experience, and of course, gender discrimination. According to reports, if this issue is not adequately addressed, the problem can go on for years, even as far away into the future as the 2050s.
One of the first things that need to be done is to acknowledge the problem. It is about time that concerned individuals and groups recognize the continuing presence of gender income inequality in the United States. Here are five reasons that help prove this.
1. Despite Professional Advancement, Women Still Earn Less Than Men According to a 2016 Report
Reports that came out earlier this year acknowledge the gender pay gap by indicating that in 2014, American women received salaries that were 79% lesser than the total pay men received. As per the American Association of Women University study, women’s median annual earnings amounted to only $39, 621 compared to the men’s more than $50,000.
2. Gender Discrimination Still Exists
Although there are research suggesting experience, occupation type, and the industry involved as the contributors to the gender pay gap, the primary reason is still gender discrimination. Others may argue that women receive less because they are most likely to leave their jobs to take care of their families (especially those with babies). This, however, has no significant effect on women’s salaries as per a research that used men and women with similar backgrounds. Over 30% of the gap was due to unknown factors.
3. Women who are Fresh Graduates Earn Lesser Than Their Male Counterparts
In the research conducted by the AAUW, results indicated that women who graduated and found work received at least 80% less in salaries one year later as compared to male graduates. These two groups have similar educational background and experience.
A female worker who finds a job immediately after graduating from college, ahead of a male worker who finished the same course and graduated at the same time, is expected to earn more one year later. What usually happens, though, is that the female worker ends still earning less than the male worker one year later, even if she started working first and therefore has a longer experience than her male counterpart. In relation with this, even if more women are now completing their college degrees, it is still the men who get the best salary deals.
4. Men Earn More than Women Even When They Have the Same Profession
One of the things that some people say contribute to women’s lesser pay rates is their choice of occupation. This was debunked last year by an article that came out on Newsweek that in the case of surgeons, women surgeons earn $756 less every week than their male counterparts, who earn salaries that are higher by more or less 37%.
Also, according to 2015 reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S., women receive higher pay than men in only five occupations/job types. Bookkeeping/accounting/auditing (clerks), data entry workers, buyers or wholesale and retail products (except those that are farm-related), (sheriff’s) patrol officers and the police, and office clerks in general. Surprisingly, women do not earn more than men in fields where they are supposed to be their expertise: nursing (registered), housekeeping/maid services, and teaching, particularly in the elementary and middle levels.
5. Work Done by Women Are Not as Highly Valued as Those by Men
According to a March 2016 New York Times article, the work that women do is not highly valued when compared to those of male workers’. Even when they have better educational background and experience, women’s work is still not given the importance of value it deserves. This is a definite example of gender discrimination.
Although it can be an answer to the gender inequality problem in the United States, the Paycheck Fairness Act is still a long way from becoming law. It has been a bill since the late 1990s, but the Congress has yet to pass it into law.