Why the Gender Pay Gap is Real and Needs to be Fixed

Tuesday, April 10, was Equal Pay Day, where people across the world raise their voices towards gender equality.  The gender pay gap is defined as the relative difference in the average wage of men and women in the same job. Many believe that the wage gap is misleading, a misconception, or the worst of all: a lie.  The facts and statistics support that there is a very large gender wage gap with overwhelming evidence. There are numerous factors determining if there is a wage gap such as pay, recruitment, job assignment, and promotion.  Just because the issue of the gender wage gap is complex, does not make it a lie.

Some people opposing the gender pay gap argue that men are more intelligent and therefore earn more than women. However, the U.S. Department of Education states that the average grade point average for female high school students is about 3.10 while the male average is about 2.90 on the 4.0 scale.  The U.S. Census Bureau reveals that the female to male college enrollment rate is 56.4 to 43.6. It is indisputable that women are better educated than men and these statistics indicate that women are as qualified by men, if not more. Earning 18% less money for the same amount of work is disproportionate to how qualified each gender is on average.

The estimation of the annual gender pay gap of 82% was a moderate estimate.  With the inclusion of part-time jobs, the gender pay gap would be 73%. The Urban Institute discovered that the average married women earns just 50% of what her husband makes if they both work.  When analyzing the pay gap by ethnic group, the results are shocking. Hispanic or Latina women earn just 54% of what the average white male earns. Black or African American women earn just 63% of what the white male earned annually.  White women earn about 78% of their male counterpart. The only ethnic group averaging over the 80% figure is Asian women with 86.8% earnings. These wages are calculated for the same number of working hours and all women in ethnic groups earned less than their male counterparts.

A famous study by Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn has shed light on how related discrimination is to the wage gap.  Blau and Kahn have estimated that 38% of the gross gender wage gap is the result of discrimination. The scientists hypothesize that harassment in male-dominated jobs and employer bias are by far the most likely cause of the wage gap.  According to the Center for American Progress, sexual harassment reports are the highest in higher-earning, male-dominated jobs. Women have been driven away from this toxic workplace where they are constantly being harassed for being a woman.  WIRED published an article shedding light on just how bad gender discrimination is in Silicon Valley (the highest-earning engineers and computer programmers). In Silicon Valley, where employees are making a fortune working for companies such as Apple or Google, 32% of women left the first year compared to 22% of men.  WIRED published the interviews of five women pertaining to sexism in Silicon Valley. The interviews were disturbing. All five women reported being treated as incompetent, lacking technical skill, and being treated as dead weight despite having the same qualifications as their male counterparts.

The gender wage gap is slowly closing and our society is improving.  Roughly 20,000 children participate in a study called “Draw a Scientist.”  In 1985, a disappointing 0.6% of children drew a female scientist. In 2016, that number was 28%.  The gender wage gap is closing by 1-2% per year. Equality is one of the most important American ideals and the gender wage gap is an issue that needs to be fixed.

Alexander Warmus, Staff Writer

Sophomore Alex Warmus is a staff writer for the 2017-2018 Colonel. He is a three-sport athlete but more importantly, he will roast you.

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