Women are feeling cheated after being denied the same wage as men in the labor force. Even after the Equal Pay Act of 1963, an act prohibiting unequal wages between men and women in the same company who are in the same position that require equal skill, education and duties, women are still left with dealing with the wage gap in the labor force. Although most developed countries have put major effort into the wage gap battle over the past century, it still remains one of the most problematic issues that modern society faces today. At this point, it looks like if things don’t change we will most likely be time traveling before the gender wage gap is equalized. Gender inequality still exists in the workplace, tougher enforcement of policies, salary negotiation training for women and diversity training for all needs to be put in place to bridge the wage gap.
Many women believe that they should not go for high waged jobs due to societal pressures to stay at home. If women have children they might have to take time off from work, upon return to work they might experience a drop in wages long term and never quite catch up. “The motherhood penalty is alive and well, the results agree with findings from a 2005 Cornell University study that found women with children were less likely to be hired, and if hired, would be paid a lower salary than male applicants” (Motherhood Penalty Wins Kanter Award, pp.1-2). With the idea of reducing the cost of child care, having more on-site childcare options and providing paid parental leave for up to six months would help women return to work sooner. In addition, working toward encouraging men to have a more equal share care of household responsibilities would make it more effective. Attention needs to be paid to the role that men should be playing to achieve gender equality, there are many initiatives that focus exclusively on changing women’s perspectives and responsibilities instead of better policies and laws being put in place to assist in change and growth in the economy.
Women are getting paid less than men in this male-dominated population in the labor market. In the work industry, full-time female workers earned only 81 percent of men’s weekly earnings according to the latest U.S. Labor Department data. Women have now entered more traditionally held male occupations, however, the wage gap still remains significant. Why are women not getting paid as much as men in the same positions in the workplace? There are two main causes of the wage gap, women’s failure to negotiate and lack of women in executive positions. Although educated and skilled, “Women have a reluctance toward believing they deserve more. Women hesitate to use bargaining skills to obtain greater salary increases. It may also reflect the concern of women that they will be evaluated negatively if they contradict stereotyped supervisory expectations and behave too much like their male colleagues (Craver).” When attempting to climb the corporate ladder, male leaders are allowed to have complex personalities while powerful women are often summed up by timeworn stereotypes, including being a frigid ice queen and conniving for making it that far up that menacing executive ladder. Women can overcome these gender-based inhibitions through the creation of workshops to assist women in thoughtfully exploring these relevant gender-based stereotypes and helping women to eliminate reluctance to negotiate more assertive employment terms for themselves. Women are so grateful to possibly be getting the job that they often do not negotiate, which widens the gender pay gap. Women need to enforce the fact that they know their worth, they know what they want and not hesitate to ask for it, without feeling pushy or that is not how woman are supposed to act. Offering more negotiation training workshops before graduates go out into to workforce on educating women to negotiate wages, will empower women to go after the wage that they ultimately deserve in the position that they are hired for.
To stimulate change, people need to stop treating gender inequality as if it were just a woman’s misfortune with both genders taking responsibility. Women and men have to be able to work on this together in an effort to change if it is going to happen in today’s society. What keeps people from supporting gender equality is the belief that if women gain, men lose out in the workforce. Working together on this issue is where we will find true success in changing the wage gap. Businesses or organization should have women represented across all levels and fields of work. Employees should be educated to behave in non-sexist ways, diversity training should be put into place. Raising awareness that men and women should work together and not let the preconceived stereotypes of the past century hold people back from everyone getting a piece of the pie, a dollar for every man and a dollar for every woman.
An argument could be made that since women do not work as much as men do and it is more likely that the man would take the general breadwinner role in the typical family dynamic, women should be paid less. All the countless misconceptions that women do not deserve to be paid at an equal rate as a man comes from gender stereotyping, whether or not it is part or full-time work, education levels or the industry that one is in, the result is the same and wages differ between the sexes. This criticism is questionable for many reasons, research shows that “among heterosexual married American couples almost 40 percent of women are the primary breadwinners, more than 75 percent of single mothers are the sole breadwinner for their household” (Friedmann). Now that women in this day in age are now active in the work force and are financially providing for their families, the breadwinner argument is no longer valid. Whether or not each gender is working an equal amount of hours, in the same position, for the same amount of hours, hourly rate should be equal across the board. Others might make counter arguments toward the wage gap based on a woman’s mannerisms and demeanor, once again living with that stereotypical idea that women are not highly capable, underestimating their intelligence and undervaluing the work female employees do. Employer bias plays a huge role in the gender wage gap issues today.
In conclusion, the wage gap has been a definite challenge among the genders for the past century. Although the wage gap has gotten smaller over the years, it still remains a huge issue and needs to be changed in order to build a growing economic nation. Encouraging women that fall into the wage gap to take advantage of the policies that are in place and insure they are enforced by companies by speaking up. Creating diversity workshops in college to raise awareness about the countless stereotypes that women face in the workplace. Women need to be encouraged to reach for executive level positions. As college grads head out for their first job interviews, most are eager just to land an offer. But understanding how to negotiate a better salary after landing that offer may have a big impact on take-home pay. It’s hard to ask, but it’s an essential step if women are to reach parity with men at work. Forming workshops to educate women on negotiating salaries would be beneficial in ending the wage gap, once and for all bring on the Equal Pay Day across America.
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