Wage Gender Gap Inequality

In today’s society, although young women are attending college and continuing on to graduate school, females still struggle with receiving equal pay as their male counterparts in the work force.

“Women have made enormous gains in the workplace over the last 50 years, however I do feel we have stalled considerably in the areas of the gender wage gap and occupational segregation,” said Dr. Johanna Foster, an assistant professor of political science and sociology.

According to a 2013 USA Today report, men in their late 30’s, with advanced degrees, earned approximately 50 percent more money than women.

“Men and women could be doing the exact same jobs, which may be called something slightly different, and women are getting paid less than men,” said Foster.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, in 2013, full-time working women earned an average of 78 cents for every dollar men earned. This in turn created a 22 percent wage gap.

“If men and women are doing the same job, they should get the same pay, simple as that,” said Dr. Jennifer McGovern, a lecturer of political science.

“Women are not asking for raises in a cultural context where men are taught and believe that they deserve raises,” said McGovern.

“Women are taught not to cause tension and to be peacemakers among people, because if they ask for things, they are viewed as pushy and rude,” McGovern continued.

According to Michael Kimmel, author of The Gendered Society, regardless of the field female college graduates choose to go into, the gender wage gap is present in most careers.

Kimmel points out that despite the increasing number of females becoming lawyers, female attorneys rarely reach the top positions in the field.

Although it is possible for female attorneys to make about 96 percent of their male counterparts’ salaries, after the ten-year mark, women’s salaries dip to only about 74 percent of men’s, according to Kimmel’s book.

Law isn’t the only field that discminates their salaries amongst men and women. “As a student, I do not see equality in pay in the [business] field I want to go into,” said Lamb.

“My father is in the business field and although it may not be out in the open, men and women do receive different pay,” Lamb said.

Aside from various fields paying men and women employees different wages, if the company one is working for is a private or public sector, that makes a significant difference.

Foster pointed out that in private sectors, worker’s salaries are not public. “Unless one is working for the government or another public sector, employee’s salaries are obviously kept private,” said Foster.

“Many women are totally unaware that they are earning less than men as private sectors do not reveal salaries of workers, so it protects the employers,” Foster continued.

Aside from salaries being kept private, sometimes women in the work force are given inferior jobs compared to men and that is sometimes also the excuse used for why women’s salaries are lower.

A PRWeek study noted that women in public relations “traditionally have been assigned low-paying technician roles and have a tendency to work in areas of public relations that typically have low salaries.” These areas include community and employee relations of non-profits.

“In the course of my career, I have been told I would be better suited for more administrative work because women can better juggle multiple responsibilities,” Foster said.

Foster said that she was given mundane assignments compared to what her male colleagues were assigned.  “Men’s jobs are ranked higher than women’s jobs on average. They are valued and paid more. Women are earning less because the jobs are coated by gender, not just by people,” she said.

For the younger female generations, a USA Today report indicated more women are enrolling in college because they have greater access to higher education compared to past years and they want to have a successful career for themselves.

Along with the report, a survey was also conducted of young college females. The survey pointed out that women entering college go in with the aspirations to receive an education and have careers of their own so they don’t have to rely on a man’s support.

“The divorce rate is higher than ever today and divorce is part of the norm in society,” said Gabriella Leuizzi, a junior biology student.

“Our generation has come to realize that it’s okay to depend on ourselves, and if we want to have families and careers, it’s tough but we’re capable,” Leuizzi continued.

Foster shares advice for the upcoming female generations who may become torn between family life and their careers. “I think that men need to step up and do their fair share of child care,” she said.

“Unless we see men valuing labor in the home the same way they value labor in the work place, I don’t think we will see a significant progress for the younger generations of women who will now be asked if they want to have families and work,” Foster added.

The only way to have change in the workplace is to get the word out about inequality amongst men and women because this concern worries me,” Lamb said.

“My advice to female college graduates when in the work place is to ask for a raise if you feel you deserve one,” McGovern said.

“Seeking out a female mentor in your company that will help guide you and give advice is another crucial tip that helps tremendously,” McGovern said.

IMAGE TAKEN from | PHOTO EDITED by Dyamond Rodriguez