The Need To Eliminate Gender Wage Gap

Discrimination is sadly not a foreign concept within modern society. Discrimination takes many different forms usually as a biased opinion against someone’s race, religion, or sex. The topic of sexual discrimination has historically been an issue but is only now being researched and addressed as the serious issue that it is. It is important for the current culture to be educated in the facts of sexual discrimination and how it might affect their daily lives, so that they may can make their own educated opinion on this concerning topic. Specifically, how discrimination based on an employee’s sex affects that person’s ability to succeed within the workplace. Women around the world working in countless kinds of occupations deal with discrimination by archaic employment systems or even from their fellow coworkers. Through recent years of research many opinions have been created over the topic of gender discriminations within the workplace and more pointedly the noticeable wage gap between male and female employees in their occupations.

The gender wage gap is an indicator of the female employee’s earnings compared with men’s earnings. The wage gap is calculated by dividing the average annual earning for women by the average annual earnings for men. The gender wage gap affects people in all manner of occupations and at all levels of employment within the United States. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrates that women in the United States earned just above 78 cents for every dollar a man made. That is 22 percent less money that all working women earn than all working men in the US; however, when we compare men and women in the same occupation and position the wage gap shrinks down to about 5 percent. This statistic is the basis of many economists’ argument that the gender wage gap is inconsequential or a complete myth. Their argument proposes that women are more likely to select low-stress jobs in low-stress industries in order to spend more time at home. Sexual discrimination within the workplace is viewed by many people as an inconsequential issue that will eventually fix itself. However, this opinion fails to consider and look at the history of discrimination based on sex that has now been translated over time into the current ignorance of the working woman.

The role of a working women has evolved beginning in the 1800’s when women ruled the domestic jobs while men took all of the responsibility of the social spheres of their society. Women were expected to have many children and were in charge of the education and manners of their children. “Any kind of a career for a woman was a thing undreamed of”. Women were forced to marry if they wanted any chance of being supported in that society. This idea that a woman’s primary job is to be a mother is a likely cause to many of the gender discriminations within the workplace today (Verniers 3). Since the United States of America was founded in 1776, women have fought to gain their right to vote. That is over one hundred and forty years fighting for what is now considered a basic human right in the United States of America. Even with women earning their suffrage it was still bizarre for a woman to have a steady job away from her house and family in order to support her family. It took a world changing and heart shattering event in history until women were commonly found and relatively accepted at public working jobs. World War II called many men that would have been working the factories off to war. This left thousands of hard and traditionally male jobs that needed to be filled, so Rosie the Riveter called the women all across the United States to work. Once the American soldiers returned home from war and started to reclaim their old jobs, many women were left unsatisfied with returning to their old domestic life of working the house. Soon women were manning the occupations that were traditionally run by men and attending universities in order to gain a degree for a more advanced job. The United States Department of Labor indicates a steady rise of women in civilian labor occupations from 1948 to 2016. Though this research points to a giant step in the right direction, many sources believe that the discrimination within these workplaces is still a major issue.

Regarding the topic of how discrimination influences the lives of women both in the work place and at home, there have been a number of studies and academic articles written that address both the affirmative and the negative ideas of this issue. One article that affirms this problem is written by Eleanor Bloxham, 'Workplace Harassment: A Complex Issue”. This article provides a detailed description of the harassment many women experience throughout a typical day of work. The primary focus of Bloxham’s article is on verbal abuse in the work place and how these attacks hinder women aspirations by attacking their emotions through demoralizing and discriminatory statements (Bloxham 21). Other sources view the topic from another facet. It discusses how many people view discrimination based on an employee’s gender to be inappropriate within the workplace due to the belief that women are different or unable to complete the same tasks as men and therefore should be compensated differently because of it. This division has become accepted in society to the point that many people have resigned themselves to the fact that women are discriminated against and are unwilling to take a stand against the apparent divide. This could be because women are generally less likely to stand up for themselves or to revolt against something that wrongs them. In an article by Stephanie Sipe she reported on a study which found that “approximately half of the female students anticipated that women would face gender bias in the workplace, whereas only one third of the male students anticipated this outcome for women”. Sipe also acknowledged that among undergraduate American female students, thirty-three percent expected their gender to affect how much they earned at their future jobs. This research illustrates that one of the major concerns of the discrimination within the workplace is the evident wage gap between the genders. “When people are […] stretching a paycheck to make it through the month […] what can we do? First of all, let’s respect women”. In McMahon’s speech she recognizes the discrepancy between a male and a female worker and she provides a very simple solution.

Using the current research that has been conducted on this specific topic it can be observed that there are many layers that need to be further explored and studied. With all the modern injustices in the current workplace, society should strive to dig deeper into the topic of gender discrimination in order to work toward putting an end to the diversity that has affected women in the past and present and causes over half of the world’s population to be oppressed and abused. 

16 December 2021
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