If you’re living in 21st century America, you assume we have gender equality, right? Many of us do.
However, some suggest that women get paid less than men for the same job. Women have moved up in the job world by rank, now occupying high-level positions in business, technology, and politics. But on average we still only make 85% of what men make or an estimated pay gap of $0.15 on the dollar.
Why does the wage gap persist? What does it mean for the U.S. economy? These are excellent questions.
What does the Gender Gap mean for you?
As a woman, it means you probably won’t earn as much as a man. There are a few fields boast no wage gap between the genders, but overall women still earn less money. These lower wages cause more women to live paycheck-to-paycheck. And many women have significantly fewer funds in their retirement accounts.
Wage isn’t the only place we see a gap. Women also report lower job quality – feeling more stressed as they worry about job security and inflexibility.
It also implies that half our workforce – women – receives lower wages. Think about it. If half of our workforce is bringing in less income, that means fewer dollars are being spent on goods and services. Those extra wages could boost our economy.
Wage Gap controversy
Some people make interesting points that the Gender Gap is a myth. They argue that the numbers are misleading. For example, if there are simply more women in jobs that pay less, this skews the scales. There are many high-paying careers that have historically attracted fewer women, like logging or computer engineering.
One article points out that economically, if women were paid less than men on purpose then every employer would be hiring more women! While the logic seems a bit far-fetched, it illustrates that the wage gap is not necessarily out-and-out discrimination.
Discrimination or something different?
Certain thought-leaders argue that some women may lack the confidence to advance. Women are less likely to ask for raises, and also less likely to believe they deserve higher positions. The Confidence Gap points to a much deeper issue.
We live in a society that has long discouraged women to enter high-paying careers, like science and technology. We have told girls not to be “bossy,” a feature that may help women make it to leadership positions – according to Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.
Shattering the glass ceiling
Is there any good news? Through more awareness of how we’re raising females, we are seeing a shift toward people trying to change this fact. More parents are now encouraging their daughters to play video games and to learn about technology and other STEM fields.
We have seen small victories, but we still have a long way to go. Do you think you are being paid enough? What policies would you suggest and support? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.