Why Do Women Get Paid Less than Men?

Image from Wikimedia

As little girls, we were told that we can be whatever we want. We were told that girls can do just as much as boys can. We were told that boys and girls are equal. Reality is men and women are not equal when it comes to pay day. Women earn just 79 cents for every dollar made by men. It is said that men get paid more due to them having greater levels of both education and experience than women. According to Betsey Stevenson since the 1990s, the majority of all undergraduate and graduate degrees have gone to women.  In the graph shown it explains that women have taken up more degrees less than a Doctor’s. This doesn’t seem to show why women are still being paid less today, there is still more unexplained reasons to the gender wage gap.

Women Choose Low Paying Jobs?

It is said that “Women simply choose to study less lucrative subjects, enter lower-paying professions and stay towards the bottom rungs of the career ladder”, stated in the article, The simple reason for the gender pay gap: work done by women is still valued lessAlthough some women do, even the women that do choose to be in a more successful  careers they are still paid less than a man would in the same career. “Differences in occupation and industry explain about 49 percent of the wage gap, but 41 percent of the wage gap is not explained by differences in educational attainment, experience, demographic characteristics, job type, or union status”, found by economists Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn.

Motherhood Affects Pay

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Many people say that motherhood has a big factor for the difference in wage, for reasons of when a women would take maternity leave or would to take time off to take care of a child. Motherhood is associated with women wanting to leave the workforce to care for their children. Women that have children look for low paying jobs and  jobs with flexible hours which include low pay, stated in the article, Here are the facts behind that ’79 cent’ pay gap factoid.  Which shows why women would take up lower jobs. If women were to delay having children it would increase their earning potential by 9 percent for even a year. When women are going through this, men are enjoying their pay increase when they have children.

Money Women Don’t Receive

Lets step away and look at the money that women are missing out on. The average women can expect to lose out nearly $500,000 in earnings over the course of her career. According to National Women’s Law Center, the average woman will make $430,480 less than her male counterpart over the course of 40 years of work. This even goes beyond gender, it also leads into different races of women. For African American women, that gap grows to $877,480, while for Latinas, it adds up to over $1 million.

Wage Gap Goes Beyond Women’s Paycheck

Women think that the gender wage gap mainly affects their paycheck, wrong. According to Kelley Holland “When women are paid less, they have to allocate a larger share of their income to cover their health insurance and other benefits, and that leaves them with less to set aside”. 53 percent of women are very concerned and terrified that daily things that occur in life will affect their retirement plans. 51 percent of women said they were very concerned and panicked about being able to afford their retirement life. 17 percent of women over the age of 65 live in poverty, due to the gender wage gap widening over the years of your life in your career.

What About Hard Working Women?

Most of the common reason why women are payed less is due to them leaving the workforce to care for children. What we don’t hear about is the women that have children but are working just as hard and long hours as men but still can’t even get paid the same as their men co-workers. It would be easier if there was no gender wage gap. There would be no older women in poverty due to the gender wage gap having an affect on the money they earned for retirement.

In The End

In the end, it would have to take women 100 years to catch up with men. “Globally, reports show, women now on average earn half of what their male peers are paid”, stated in an article from Glamour. As women age and their career goes on, the gender wage gap will continue getting wider and worse. For women there is no such thing as equal pay day, even when it is equal pay day, women still get less money than their male peers. What most of the articles and facts lack is what women who have children, who don’t miss work or take a leave of absence still get paid less. The gender wage gap causes too much consequences that it would be easier to get rid of it, but due to the amount of money it will cost the U.S. Economy they will not. My last thought is that in the long run it severely affects women all over and more than some. Men didn’t do anything to deserve more money than women. The gender wage gap will continue to grow over a woman’s lifetime.

Featured image from Flickr by Mike Licht

12 thoughts on “Why Do Women Get Paid Less than Men?

  1. For your pay difference I would like to point out a few possible explanations. As said above, it all depends on a few different factors. If your brother was older than you when he got the job, maybe they thought he would be able to get more done. Or possibly the job changed and they just no longer pay $13. I wouldn’t completely rule out sexism, but it all depends on a number of things. If some guy got the job later and made $13 though, that might be when I completely start questioning.

  2. I would like to point out that my brother worked at Elm Creek park his senior year over the summer mowing, weed whipping, and cleaning the bathrooms. He earned $13 an hour from the beginning of this job. I recently applied and got the job, but I will be making $9.50 an hour. I did not point this out to my boss, but I double checked with my brother and he definitely earned $13 an hour… how would you like to explain this?

    1. That is a situation where you need to provide more than just stating the amount of money you made, like more specifics on the job, scheduling (How many days you are working etc.) and more, please state more than, “My brother makes more money than me, why?”

      1. The job is the exact same in every aspect. It is from 6:30 am to 3:00 pm 5 days a week (an occasional weekend) over the summer. It is a maintenance job as I said, all outdoors except for cleaning the bathrooms… I don’t know what else there is to say?

        1. well for one there is a lot that could be said,

          One is that you could bring it up to your boss and actually question it with your statistics, (i.e. showing how much you make and how much your brother made, etc.) and ask straight up why there is a gap,

          the thing you can’t do is go off and accuse him of sexism, as that is a very heavy thing to just throw out there not to mention somewhat insulting. We must address situations while considering everything aspect and possible reasoning, not jumping to conclusions such as sexism, racism, or any other type of prejudice. We shouldn’t assume we know everything about things as we don’t.

          Overall bring it up with your boss and hit us up with an update

  3. In your paragraph about motherhood affecting pay, you treat having a child like it’s something every woman is required to do and that they lose out on opportunities for better pay and better jobs as a result. Becoming a mother in almost all situations is a choice a woman can make knowing how it will affect her life; a company or business trying to hire hard workers and make a profit has no obligation to cater to the flexible hours a mother needs because she CHOSE to have a child. Also, men who have children, single parent or not, are generally expected to care for a child just as much as the mother. If the father chooses to place all responsibilities onto the mother, or maybe she’s a single mother, she still chose to have a child and a place of work can’t pay someone who’s out on maternity leave the same wage as someone who shows up to work everyday on time and works hard.

    In your paragraph about the fact that women choose lower paying jobs, you don’t really address the issue of HOW women are simply just “paid less” than men for the same work. As Destin said, it has been illegal to discriminate against anybody based on gender in the U.S. for about 20 years. Ever since Kennedy passed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, it has been completely illegal for women to receive less than men for similar work in the same workplace. Would you have people believe that across the entire country, businesses everywhere have been breaking this law for years based on nothing but gender for some reason and no one has done anything?

    The original studies that found that women were paid 79 (or 77 depending on who you ask) cents to the man’s dollar has been debunked many times. The idea that women earn less for doing the same work as men is simply not true. A Harvard professor, Claudia Goldin, has talked extensively about this, saying that in GENERAL women earn less than men simply because they do actually choose lower paying jobs that require less education. The studies done to try and prove that women suffer from a wage gap didn’t actually conclusively prove anything; they only made people THINK that this great “injustice” was reality. Men tend to choose jobs in engineering, business, sciences, law, etc., and while women do still choose jobs in these fields, studies show that the majority of them choose jobs with better hours and lower pay rather than jobs that require around the clock availability, long hours and possibly travel.

    This problem could be more accurately described as a gender earnings gap rather than a wage gap; there is no institutionalized oppression stopping a woman from doing everything a man can do and earning just as much as him. The fact that women generally take lower paying jobs is something contributed to by factors that all women have a say in. They have the choice to have a child, to not go to college for higher levels of education, to work the hours needed of them or to settle for more flexible hours, etc. You are correct that men haven’t done anything to deserve more money than women; for the same work that is. If one person goes to school for 8 years and becomes a doctor, and another for only 2-4, then the person who worked harder for longer and received a higher degree deserves higher pay regardless of gender. In conclusion, I think your entire argument doesn’t properly acknowledge or address the simple fact that not all jobs pay equally; you wouldn’t make the same driving a garbage truck as you would working as a theoretical physicist at a university; and that more men end up with these higher paying jobs for a number of reasons.

    You also stated that closing the wage gap would be too much for the U.S. economy to handle, and I completely disagree. More women in STEM careers, or any higher paying job that requires higher education, would create a better and more skilled workforce as well as creating jobs.

    Thanks for the post 🙂

    1. Really like how you went in depth on your approach, well said. I think that the Equal pay act is a very good point, and I love the last comment on the boosting of the economy.

      Again, well said.

  4. In your motherhood against pay paragraph you seem to talk about how women who have jobs look for lower paying jobs. “Women that have children look for low paying jobs and jobs with flexible hours which include low pay, stated in the article,” but you are talking about women who have teen pregnancies and don’t have jobs yet, because typically, every woman who has had a job ever and then has a child is not forced to quit their job and look for a lower paying job?

    Pretty sure if the average woman in a average to slightly above average salary is not going to drop out of their job because they are a mother, plus somewhat bias to throw in the comment, “When women are going through this, men are enjoying their pay increase when they have children.” What about single fathers? Just saying..

    Also for about twenty years now gender discrimination has been illegal in the US. Mostly when the 25% difference pay gap in jobs happens in labor focused jobs. These labor intensive jobs typically revolve around a quota like system, for instance in logging, whoever logs the most trees in the day gets the highest paycheck.

    Another popular example that is used in the gender wage gap is the differences in pay between men’s and women’s sports. In the 2015 world cup women players were paid less than the men athletes. But these big sports companies go off of how brings in the most money, the most entertainment. In ohter words if the men’s world cup brought in $35 billion dollars and the women’s German team only won $2 million. The difference?
    yes about 6 cents to the dollar
    BUT the mne’s German team also won the world cup, beating Argentina in the finals by 1-0 after overtime. The women’s team didn’t even make it to the finals what so ever. So who deserves to be paid more, the winning team who brought entertainment and increased FIFA’s total revenue by about $4.6 billion, or the team that got crushed and didn’t bring much revenue in.

    Another study by Stanford’s economist, (forgot her name but you can look HER up) even discredited the wage gap myth and has some interesting research if you are willing to look at the other point of view at all.

    -Thanks for the interesting article though 😛

    1. “every woman who has had a job ever and then has a child is not forced to quit their job and look for a lower paying job?”
      Yes actually they are forced to quit their job when the father doesn’t offer to take an active role in the child’s life. Another way to put this is how often do you hear the term “working father”? Not too often, because it is implied a father works, but when a mother works they are referred to as a “working mother”. Maybe if father’s rejected traditional gender roles, the wage gap wouldn’t exist.
      Furthermore, have you researched the gender wage gap in Hollywood??
      or have you driven down the road and seen the sexualization of women on road side ads or anywhere else in the media?? have you ever called a girl a “slut” because she’s had multiple relationships in a relatively short period of time, while guys are praised for getting as much action as possible like its an accomplishment?? https://www.graphiq.com/vlp/cMkIB6epm0R
      Also I’d like to ask why men’s sports draw more attention… cough cough sexism.

      1. Actually, I can guarantee that women do not have to quit their jobs merely because they become a mother, that is ridiculous. AND to counter argument your idea on traditional gender roles, mothers are more likely to take time off work for their children. (http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/12/11/on-pay-gap-millennial-women-near-parity-for-now/#the-balancing-act)

        also, how the heck do fathers who allow themselves not to be called “Working fathers,” cause a difference in pay depending on gender?? What? We are now talking about people being offended by looking too deep into the definition of a “Working mother,” I would think that you would agree and take the point of view that being a “Working mother,” and take pride in being able to do so. So in other words, how is this relevant to your point?

        Also, why are you bringing in sexualization while we are on the topic of wages and annual salaries of genders. But just because you brought it up I will say only one thing and then get back onto the main point of this whole debate..

        If a women is being paid hundreds of dollars to be in an ad for something “sexualized,” like a swimsuit ad, I am pretty sure they are ok with it and are not being forced to do it against their will. They are ok with this so called, “Sexualization,” because they took the job. Pretty sure those women knew what they were getting into as it’s merely their job, not discrimination, end of point.

        And to your point on the “Slut” situation, have you ever called a man a “player” because he left a girl and dated a girl within a short amount of time? The hate of that goes both ways, men are called “players,” women get called “sluts,” we can’t monitor what people say due to our constitutional rights so it’s just something we both have to deal with whether you agree or not.

        And to the sports question, if we take in the example of the world cups yes, women get less attention because the whole world gets involved in the first men’s world cup which is followed a year later with the women’s cup. And yet other sports teams make less because more is on the line with the male sports as men are genetically athletic. I am not saying women aren’t athletic, I am stating that if you lined up the world’s best men athlete against the women’s best athlete the men are going to more likely to win. If you had to choose between a more intense game with more athletic people versus a intense game with less athletic game, where would you put down your money to watch.

        cough, cough, critical thinking

        If you want to change that, start watching JUST women games from now on and ignore men’s sports. Go and lead by example if you really want change.

        Not trying to hate on you or fight, just debating..

      2. Great points, however I would like to address your statement about men’s sports drawing more attention. You claim that it is seeming just about sexism, but there is much more to it then that. See, when sports first started to become popular so very long ago, it was a man’s game. For example, the sport of baseball became a hit about 150 years ago, and has been one of America’s most iconic sports. However, at this time period, women weren’t as involved as most men were. So men’s sports had what you could call a “Head start” on popularity. Men’s sports had already become hugely popular before women’s sports were even beginning. This brings up a new concept; tradition. Has anyone stopped to think about why most of us watch sports in the first place? For most of us, there’s two reasons; because we enjoy playing the sport ourselves, or we grew up watching them as kids, and built a passion for these events. Just like how racism is taught, and is created by the the ideas that the individual is surrounded by as they grow up, sexism is learned. On another note, it’s a common for groups of people to gather for a big party or event hosted to watch the “the big game”, or a championship. But how can that be so controversial if it’s a men’s game? Just because there are lots of people that only choose to watch a couple games a year, or maybe even just the finales of a season, that doesn’t mean that we watch every men’s event but no female ones. And on top of that, I don’t think the fact that it is mostly men watching these events is ever addressed. And yes, you could argue that just that statement could be sexist but if a man wants to watch his own gender play, where’s the issue?

        1. There is no issue, (I’m responding to your last sentence), but yes I agree with your statements as well, all good points but overall people choose to watch what they want, no big deal, the reason it seems like a big deal is because people may try to blow things out of proportions.

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