What is the underlying cause of the pay gap between male and female? Have women made strides in closing this gap in the past fifty years? While I was convinced this gap was due to long-formed societal and patriarchal constructs deeply rooted in our society, other would beg to differ. It was interesting to see what others opinions were regarding this matter. However, there is much research and statistics to justify underlying organizational class inequality (Acker, 2006). According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women full-time workers made 79 cents for every dollar earned by men, a gender wage gap of 21 percent (www.iwpr.org/initiatives/pay-equity-and-discrimination). This opinion of slow progress toward closing the gap between male and female in terms of pay is echoed one research study conducted by David Pedulla and Sarah Thebaud. In their study, they found gendered workplace norms and policies persisted even today and even affected the creation of gender egalitarian relationships in family roles (Pedulla & Thebaud, 2015). Others have critiqued the gender pay gap as a result of personal choice and not institutional constraints. The choice of the college major and type of job pursued after graduation is a great factor in explaining the gender pay gap according to economists (AAUW, 2016). Arguably, this explanation does not determine the 7 percent difference in the earnings of male and female college graduates one year after graduation (AAUW, 2016).
A recent nationally represented survey of the UK workforce conducted by The Guardian news outlet found that a significant 13% of men believed there to be no pay difference between genders. Further analysis of the data also brought to light that men believe the gender pay gap is 11% lower than women’s estimations (https://jobs.theguardian.com/article/gender-equality-in-the-workplace-2016-pay-inequality/).
I was also under the impression that the U.S was ranked number 1 in the world for having the smallest gap in gender pay and equality. I believe many people including myself have perpetuated unconsciously the idea that the United States is a land of equal opportunity and freedom in making choices regarding many aspects of our daily living. But it was exposing and refreshing to see how wrong I was. So how does the U.S’ gender pay gap rank in comparison to other countries around the world? According to the World economic forum, Iceland and Norway lead the pack as the countries with the smallest gender gap. When it comes to the gender pay gap specifically, Norway ranks number one in economic opportunities. This is due to their implementation of highly praised child care systems and family-care based policies. Paid leave raises the probability that mothers return to employment later. Consequently, they have the motivation and incentive to work more hours and earn higher wages (Moss, 2016).
Acker, J. “Inequality Regimes: Gender, Class, and Race in Organizations.” Gender & Society 20.4 (2006): 441-64. Web.
“Gender Equality in the Workplace 2016 – the Pay Gap | Guardian Jobs.” Guardian Jobs. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2016.
Moss, Gabrielle. “How America’s Wage Gap & Gender Equality Ranking Compares To Other Countries.” http://www.bustle.com/articles/153258-how-americas-wage-gap-gender-equality-ranking-compares-to-other-countries. Lifestyle, 12 Apr. 2016. Web. 26 June 2016.
“Pay Equity & Discrimination.” — IWPR. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2016.
Pedulla, D. S., and S. Thebaud. “Can We Finish the Revolution? Gender, Work-Family Ideals, and Institutional Constraint.” American Sociological Review 80.1 (2015): 116-39. Web.
“Rankings.” Global Gender Gap Report 2015. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2016.
“The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Spring 2016).” AAUW: Empowering Women Since 1881. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 June 2016.