Right around 50 years ago, wage disparity became illegal. As society moves forward in seeing that everyone is equal, and that equal jobs should get equal pay, we should think that now, half a century later, we have come to that. The sad fact is that there is still a gender inequality in the workplace. Women earn less than men even though they are doing the same job. To make matters worse, that gap is not small. It may be one thing that after 50 years we have narrowed it down to within a few percentage points of each other, but that is not the case. A recent study has found that women only make 77% of what men make.
Why the gender wage gap?
The gap exists simply due to a bigoted stance that the quality of work that a woman can perform is less than the quality that a man can perform. It was believed that women would not be able to work as hard, or accomplish as much, as a man. In light of that, they were paid less. Keep in mind that half a century ago there were a lot more manual labor jobs. So it may have been true that women in certain jobs cannot perform as much as a man for the reason that they are physically smaller than men. However, as technology has advanced, one’s physical fitness rarely has much of a factor in the job. Besides being physically different, there was (and most likely still is) the idea that women are inferior.
Why is there still a gap?
The attitudes toward the wage gap have changed, and it has closed considerably. But there are still those feelings that women cannot do as good of a job as a man in the workplace. Much of that stems from those high up in the chain of command. The vast majority of CEO’s are male and there seems to be a superiority complex surrounding them. Some only see women as troubling, causing drama in the workplace, and thus they don’t really want them to be around. And since most workplaces have rules against discussing your salary with your co-workers, many companies are able to pay women less. Without breaking the rules, the women never actually know that they are only getting three fourths of what their male counterparts are getting.
What can be done to help equal pay for equal work?
One of the best ways to get rid of a wage gap is to have a transparent workplace. If everyone knows what everyone else earns, then nobody would be able to be cheated. It may cause some problems initially, but it will open up dialogue as to how people are able to increase their salaries through working harder. I am a fan of merit based pay. Harder work leads to more pay. If companies would adopt this mentality, we could not only see the wage gap close rapidly, but also see much more productive workers. The other alternative is that when a person is hired, those who are setting up the payroll only see experience and position. They should never know the gender of the person and thus would not be able to discriminate.
Wrapping It Up
Have you seen the wage gap in your workplace? Personally, I don’t see it in mine. I don’t know exactly what everyone else makes, but I do know that those in my office are paid fairly. Even in previous jobs I know that the pay was equal among similarly qualified males and females. But according to the surveys and studies, this gap still exists and does not seem to be getting any smaller.
What do you think? What can be done to narrow the gap? Do you think it will close within our lifetime?
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