Although “a woman’s place is in the home” is an outdated concept, unfortunately, this ideology is sometimes reflected in the inequality for women’s pay. There is still a significant difference between men and women while employed in the same position. This is commonly referred to as the gender/wage gap. This is calculated in many ways but primarily based on a consensus. And it has shown that men consistently make more money than women, especially women of color.
However, these numbers are not personalized within the subgroups, for
example, although Filipino women fall under the category of Asian women,
they actually only earned 83 cents per dollar compared to their white male
counterparts. It is important to note that the gender wage gap is shown
primarily in women of color based not only on gender bias but also race
and/or ethnic bias.
Gender-based pay discrimination became illegal in 1963, but it still
exists and is very wide-spread, so we need to identify the ongoing
causes for this.
One cause is the difference in occupations or jobs worked. A lot of
jobs are based on what are stereotypically considered either a “man’s
or woman’s” job. For example, so-called women’s jobs include
child-care workers and health aides, both jobs have lower salaries and
less benefits. Comparatively speaking, a typical “man’s” job in
construction, makes higher pay.
The second reason could be due to the fact the majority of women
have less job experience or less hours worked. Although this is
rapidly-changing, it is still prevalent due to the fact that women are
driven to take off additional time off, more than men, simply in their
care-taker roles, i.e., as a new mother or to otherwise fulfill unpaid
There are other factors that narrow the gap between women/men
One of the largest factors in narrowing the gap is
the increase in women’s education. Women who have a higher
level of education do receive higher pay than their uneducated
female counterparts. Also, unionization helps narrow the gap
between unequal pay for men and women due to the collective
bargaining tool employees have to fight discriminatory practices
within the workplace.
With all this data, you might be asking, what can be done? To make the
necessary changes to bridge the gender wage gap, we need to have
comprehensive equal pay legislation, such as the Paycheck Fairness
Act. All family members should be given access to paid sick days and
a comprehensive paid family and medical leave program. This is
essential to minimize job loss. In larger corporations here in the US,
women and men are now offered paternity leave for four months after
the birth of their child. This has been a common practice in Europe for
We need to address cultural biases that harm our
women. We need to change cultural attitudes and rewrite the policies
in order for the United States to begin to rebuild the structures that
will uplift women and their families.
At an individual level, in your career search, when requesting your desired
salary amount, search for the same job description in your area and the
expected salary for that position. Do not provide an amount based on your
prior salary, as that might have already been gender-biased. Strive to
obtain equal pay in all of your endeavors. As a hiring manager, make sure
that your employees receive equal pay based on their qualifications, not
their gender or race.
This is an issue of equality that affects all of us.
Statistics quoted from: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Women in the labor
force: a databook” (Washington: U.S. Department of Labor, 2018)