We are still living in a society that oftentimes defines jobs based on gender. What do we mean? For instance, compare data entry jobs with those jobs related to engineering. About 75% of those in the data entry field (mostly typing jobs) are women while more men (about 80%) are in engineering related fields. And those who work in engineering related fields earn about four times more than those who work in child care services or who are in education. Thus, there is still a disparity when it comes to equal pay between men and women.
Statistically, women receive more degrees (undergraduate and graduate level) than men, and are the breadwinners of 4 out of every 10 families. However, in 2014, it was determined that for every 1 dollar earned by men, women only earned 79 cents. In 2016, why are women still struggling with this wage gap?
The analysis carried out by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) showed that if nothing is done to close the gap in the wages of men and women; it will take approximately 44 years for women to attain pay parity with men. Discrimination has been discerned in the hiring, pay, and promotion process in many industries. The pay gap is even worse among women who are African American, Hispanics, Native Hawaiian, and American Indian as compared to those who are Asian Americans or Non–Hispanic women.
In order to bridge the gap of inequality in pay, many women have, in recent years, delved into jobs that are commonly held by men, like engineering. However, there is still significant occupational segregation. But, is there any advantage in women receiving equal pay as men? Yes, there is! Further analysis by IWPR showed that if women received as much pay as men, the poverty rate level among women will be reduced by half –and the significance of this is further enhanced by the fact that many single parent homes (22 million roughly in the US) are headed by women.
Can any changes be effected to close the parity gap in pay between men and women? The solutions lie in the hands of companies, individuals, and policy makers. CEOs of companies are urged to practically monitor gender–based differences in pay – to make sure that both men and women receive equal pay. Individually, women should think about ways they can negotiate better pay with employers before they accept jobs. And for policy makers, updating the Paycheck Fairness Act, which has not been modified or amended since 1963, could potentially change the whole wage landscape for women.