Gender pay equity is important for both economic growth and the flourishing of society. Gender pay gap discusses the difference in what both men and women get paid for the same job. In most cases, women are underpaid. This happens even when they are as experienced as their male colleagues in the same field. This portrays discrimination based on gender in the workforce. Women make up almost half of the United States’ workforce today. This means that the number of employed women is nearly equal to that of men. However, women are still paid lower wages as compared to men. The female to male earnings ratio was reported to be 0.79 back in 2014. The wage gap is brought about by several variables such as cultural and social norms, and biasness.
The objectives of this literature review are:
To research the already available data on gender wage gap that has been published before that discusses the causes and effects of gender wage gaps. The review will also discuss how gender wage gaps can be bridged. Additionally, this review will look at the methodologies used to collect data and how well the issue has been addressed. Finally, the review will critique the methods used in previous studies and the outcomes that were achieved.
For many years women are being paid less than men, for every dollar a man earns, a woman is paid. Middle skilled jobs that are done by women they earn 66% of what men in the same field earn. Sex and race-based discriminations are rampant in working areas and are portrayed during the hiring process, payment and promotion. African women earn less than 64 cents while the Hispanic women earn less than 54 cents for the same type and amount of work. Research shows that it will take until the year 2124 for Hispanic women while it will take black women until 2233 to attain equal pay (Rubery & Koukiadaki, 2016). It is a crucial issue that needs to resolve because it is creating gender discrimination in the workplace. This graph illustrates how the gender wage gap has changed over time.
The discrimination on gender pay still happens up to date. It has been recorded that, in the year 2019, women were paid 79 cents while the men earned a dollar. The salary earned by men is around 21% higher than the average wage earned by women. This is an improvement of about 1% since 2018 and almost 5% from the year 2015. Back in 2015, the average payment for men was 26% higher as compared to the average salary of women (Rubery & Koukiadaki, 2016). Even when all the compensable agents are accounted for, the gender pay gap is still there. As a matter of fact, women doing the same type of job as a man in the same organization and for the same hours, still earn 2% less than the men. Regardless of the efforts put towards bridging the wage gap, the change that has been observed is still low as it amounts to like 0.008 dollars improvement since 2015.
Effects of Gender Gap
There are some few effects which are brought about by the gender pay gap. They include;
Analysis from the America Association of University found that women who graduated college in 2007 and 2008 full-time working had paid off 33% of their student loan debt by 2012 while men who graduated in those same years had paid off 44% of their student loan debt (Whaley, 2018).
Physical and Mental Health
Women whose income is lower than their male counterparts have a higher risk of being depressed. Their likelihood of anxiety was four times higher than that of their male counterparts. They would get depressed at a rate of 2.5 times higher than the male; hence they may end up in depression (Allison Milner, 2016). Gender discrimination was likely a prominent explanation for mental health disparities between men and women. Discrimination may result in stress and poorer health behaviour like abusing drugs as well as poor medication adherence. It also leads to a decrease in good health habits, such as sleep, diet, eating behaviors, attitudes and exercise.
Women work for a few hours than men, and this is most pronounced when they have children. Part-time work is dominated by working mothers of young children, with around 69% of employed mothers with preschool children working part-time (Allison Milner, 2016). Most women have more responsibilities than men in housekeeping and rearing of children. Women also are likely to experience underemployment than men where a person may want to work more but is not offered the hours.
The gender pay gap also affects health through its impacts on women’s economic security, where women are not able to accumulate wealth than men. Wealth helps in protecting life stressors that might reduce earning capacity. Lack of wealth mostly haunts women as they enter into their old age and translate into lack of access to services and poor health (Allison Milner, 2016). This inequality is mostly felt when women are old, retired, part-time work impacts on the superannuation they have accrued. Gender pay gap brings in inequity in broader society and the more unequal a society, the poorer the health of its women and girls. By reducing the pay gap, would address problems associated with pay inequity and poor employment conditions and even the effects of inequities on the well-being of working women.
Gender Wage Gap by Ethnicity
White women are typically paid 79 cents for every dollar a white man makes, black women are only paid 63 cents, and Latinas get 54 cents for every dollar white men make, while Asian women may be paid highest at 87 cents. Meanwhile, some ethnic subgroups of Asian women may earn less and parenthood further complicates the issue. Wage gap of a mother is like around 71 cents for every dollar which is paid to fathers (Dishman, 2018). For as much as the pay gap affects all the women in the United States, women of color; Hispanics, Latinos, and Asians are paid much lower than white women. This case shows that there are women whose payment is affected by both their race and gender.
Gender wage pay by profession
The wage pay gap also depends on the kind of job a woman holds. The financial adviser is the most paid pay gap. Four of the top 10 occupations with the largest pay gaps are in finance, and the sector continues to be dominated by men, which is part of the reason that their salaries are higher than women’s. Female brokers, women earn 70.5% of the average male counterpart earns (Dishman, 2018). Occupations with smallest wage gap for women are licensed practical nurse, wholesale and retail buyers, and counsellors.
Why is the uncontrolled Group Wage Gap Very Large?
The wage pay gap is so huge between men and women in the uncontrolled group because; women are not likely to hold high position jobs and also unlike men, women take longer to move their career to the next level than men. In this case, the gender pay gap is caused by the opportunity gap. For instance, when an equal number of men and women in their 20s start working as contributors, the men are more likely to get promoted to the supervisor or manager positions by the mid of their career. On the other hand, women are more likely to retain the same positions they began at, or only a small percentage of them will have moved higher. 47% of men manage to become managers or even hold higher positions by the mid of their career; that is around the age of 30-44 years. At this age, only 40% of the women will have made it to that position. From the age of 45 and above, only 40% of women will have reached the manager position or higher compared to 57% of men. The percentage of women who make it to the executive level is 3% against 8% men (Gould, Schieder&Geier, 2018).
Does Using Different Measures to Examine the Gender Pay Gap Mean That Data is Unreliable?
There are many types of research that have been done to study the exact pay gap percentage between the men and women as well as the factors that bring about the difference. Researchers use different approaches and methodologies to collect the data (Gould, Schieder&Geier, 2016). For instance, there are those who use controlled groups, while others use primary sources of data to make a comparison. These different methodologies result in different information in data, and the percentages vary. These differences, in result, do not mean that the data is unreliable. This is because, when conducting the research, some researchers may compare both the part-time and full-time workers and at different times of the year.
For instance, the Census Bureau found that women earned 80 cents for every dollar a man earned by looking at the salary earned by full-time employees. Another study worked with the hourly payments and concluded that women earned 83 cents while men earned a dollar. These two studies are valid, and the data is reliable. The difference in figures is only brought about by the different types of data that they collected during their study(Graf, Brown & Patten, 2018). Researches have been conducted via the completion of questionnaires and using matrixes in a company for a set period of time. As it might be seen from many kinds of research, most women could not manage to work for as many hours as the men could because of the domestic responsibilities that await them back at home.
From all the studies done, it is evident that the pay gap still exists and the efforts to close are slow. The researches do not, however, give the clear ways in which the inequality could be done away with to bring equilibrium. Also, it has been observed that the gender pay gap not only affects the white females but also has more effect on the women of color. The gender pay differences might be escalated by issues such as level of education and experience. But even then, there are observable differences in the salary of men and women who are equally educated and experienced. It is clearly unfair for an individual to earn lesser than her fellow colleagues that tackle the same roles as them due to their color or gender. Discrimination can negatively affect an organization. If someone is discriminated against, that can affect not just their self-esteem but also their ability to deliver and do their best at work.
I would recommend that more study be done to see how possible it was to completely equalize the payment rates not just between men and women but also between women of color and their white female counterparts. The pay rates should not be decided based on gender or race, so more studies should be done to see how equity could be attained in the employment sector. Also, the studies to be doe should come up with effective ways that can be used to make the fight against discrimination finally come to an end.
Allison Milner, A. K. (2016, December 13). The gender pay gap is harming women’s health. Retrieved March 5, 2020, from The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/the-gender-pay-gap-is-harming-womens-health-68919
Barnes, M. W. (2015). Gender differentiation in paid and unpaid work during the transition to parenthood.Sociology Compass, 9(5), 348-364.
Dishman, L. (2018, April 10). This Is The Impact Of Gender Wage Gap. Retrieved March 5, 2020, from Fast Company: https://www.fastcompany.com/90469431/senator-mark-warner-the-21st-centurys-wars-will-be-fought-with-misinformation
Graf, N., Brown, A., & Patten, E. (2018).The narrowing, but the persistent, gender gap in pay.Pew Research Center, April 9.
Gould, E., Schieder, J., &Geier, K. (2016). What is the gender pay gap and is it real?. Economic Policy Institute.
Rubery, J., & Koukiadaki, A. (2016). Closing the gender pay gap: A review of the issues, policy mechanisms and international evidence. 10-26.
Whaley, N. (2018, April 10). Three long-term effects the gender pay gap has on women. Retrieved March 5, 2020, from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research: https://www.mic.com/articles/188833/3-long-term-effects-the-gender-pay-gap-has-on-women#.1jbSlvfwi
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