Kamie Aran

Jul 28, 2019

6 min read

The Torn Dollar

Carrie Gracie(left) and Michelle Williams(right) are both examples of the gender wage gap’s effect on women’s lives. Carrie Gracie, a BBC journalist, learned that she had been earning less than her male coworkers for years while Michelle Williams learned that she earned 0.07% of the salary that her male counterpart earned in the movie “All the Money In the World”.

What is justice? When it comes to gender, justice takes many forms. One of these is the gender wage gap, the social phenomenon that results in women receiving a lower income than men, even when working the same jobs and receiving the same education. It is a prominent issue that affects women at any age in the workforce, and has existed for many decades. The current state of the gender wage gap entails women in the United States annually receiving $10,470 less than men. Additionally, the wage gap prevalent for women in the workplace in several different ways. The results are women not only receiving lower wages than men, but that they are also subject to this discrimination through being treated differently than men in the workplace. In fact, when an employee’s salary is determined, women receive about eighty cents on every man’s dollar. Though initially appearing to be a minute difference, when equating a woman’s annual income there is a five to six figure difference. However, as stated, the reason why women receive lower salaries does not only stem from their paychecks, but also from the way they are treated. One of these ways is that women are denied certain opportunities that men are provided with rising to a higher position with greater seniority and in turn receiving a higher salary. Another way that employers treat women unjustly is through providing women with lower salaries than men and through valuing their work less than that of men. Additionally, as women are not paid as much as they should be for their work, people argue that women should simply work in higher paying or predominantly female fields. However, even when women enter predominantly female fields they receive a lower income, and when a woman enters a higher paying field such as law, she will not earn more money as it is a “male-dominated” field. The wage gap is an issue that affects all fields and all women, and, as a result, is currently a pressing issue.

Several addresses and laws have been passed over the years to help try and close the gender wage gap, yet it persists in most workplaces in the United States. These laws include the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Obama’s presidential memorandum, and Obama’s two executive orders. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 states that employees of one gender cannot be paid less than the opposite gender. Furthermore, if an employer owes an employee money under this act, then they have overtime unpaid compensation. However, the rules dictated under this act are not followed by a majority of the organizations in the United States. Another step to close the wage gap was made through Obama’s presidential memorandum which stated that federal contractors are obliged to report the salaries of their employees according to race and gender to the Department of Labor. Additionally, one of Obama’s executive orders stated that the government has to report employees’ salaries by gender. The second stated that employees who share their salaries with coworkers cannot be penalized. However, although the gender wage gap was addressed by the government, it remains a prevalent issue. Furthermore, though women returning to college may alleviate the gap, the wage gap is a prominent issue regardless of the amount of education that a woman receives. Evidence of this lies in the fact that women receive the most master’s degrees in the U.S., yet men make up 95% of senior workers (in the U.S.). Additionally, the wage gap begins to play a role in women’s lives immediately after graduating from college and resulting in a 6.6% gap. Moreover, when a survey was conducted on students nine years after they graduated, the gap increased by 60%. Therefore, the gender pay gap affects women immediately when they graduate from college, and does not decrease as time progresses. Henceforth, action must be taken in order to close the gap, and there are a multitude of factors that are essential for this cause.

There are several ways that differences can be made from small communities to international politicians in order to close the gender wage gap. First and foremost, there are small actions that can be taken in order to aid this cause. If there is enough support for the cause, then these actions could make a big difference. One of these actions could be employees can communicating the prominence of the gender wage gap to their employers. Additionally, employees could raise awareness for the importance of promoting the wage gap through a presentation at their workplace highlighting the issue. For middle and high school students, a presentation or lecture given at school addressing the gender wage gap and how to navigate it could lead to positive results later in life upon approaching these situations in the workplace. If children are aware of the wage gap prior to entering the workforce, then they will have an easier time succeeding at their work while also being able to assist in minimizing it. Furthermore, as the gender wage gap is an issue that affects women immediately after they leave college, it would be extremely beneficial for women to be aware of it a younger age. Additionally, often organizing rallies at schools against the gender wage gap could prove incredibly advantageous. If these rallies occur often, then they may catch the media’s attention. Furthermore, if others notice that many students are devoted to this issue, it may become an issue that more people try to to fight for. Politicians can also assist in closing the gender wage gap through the same outlet. Politicians can use their connections in order to create rallies against the gender wage gap all across the United States on the same day, at the same time. As the issue becomes an evident nationwide concern, it will be noticed by the media. As so many people evince devotion to the issue, congressmen and women may take notice and attempt to pass legislation regarding the resolution to close the gender wage gap. Therefore, there are a multitude of ways for everyone across the United States to help promote the closing of the gender wage gap and to hopefully bring it to the government’s attention.

For several decades now the gender wage gap has been an issue affecting a multitude of women not only nationally, but internationally. It is an issue many have tried to alleviate or solve, yet nonetheless, it remains. Even if small improvements are made to solve this issue, it must be addressed by many as it impacts a large segment of the population. One huge step that could aid in eliminating the gender wage gap would be to assist in ceasing discrimination against women, an issue that directly coincides with the gender wage gap. Evidence of this lies in the fact that one of the reasons employers provide their female employees with lower salaries is because they unintentionally value their work less. Another fact that further demonstrates the magnitude of the gender wage gap is that not only does the gap take a huge toll on women, but it also has a direct affect on their families. These effects supply women with less money to support their families and result in their families being denied certain necessities. These are the unfortunate facts that make up the gender wage gap. However, there are ways for us to solve it, from small contributions to big ones. Either way, this is an issue that needs our help in order to solve it as we are affected by it and as a result will have the strongest voices to fight it.