The gender wage gap still exists in America. Data supports this, and yet people still refuse to believe it. Read through any comments on an article on the wage gap – you’re guaranteed to get several, if not most, declaring the wage gap a myth. This comment was found on a Youtube video’ about the gender wage gap: “there is a biological reason for why females cannot, and I mean, CANNOT, get the same pay as men.” Another commenter said, “If women get paid less than men for the same work, like a lot of people say, no one would hire men if women could do the same job for less”, to which a commenter replied, “The reason they don’t fire the male employees is because they value them more.” Many people who claim that the wage gap doesn’t exist are ignoring facts and making up ideas that, in their minds, make sense. Those ideas are not supported by facts or even common sense, and women are suffering for it.
“If we put a woman on the one dollar bill, it’ll be worth only 77 cents.” Stephen Colbert responded to Obama’s statement that putting women on currency would “be a good idea” with this statement. While it is not realistic to imagine that this would be the case should a woman be on a dollar bill, he drives home a point about the gender wage gap. According to data interpreted from the US census bureau, women make 77 cents for each dollar a man makes. The numbers are even less for women of color and trans women. The highest paid female CEO is Martine Rothblatt, who makes $38 million annually. The highest paid male CEO, John Hammergren, makes $131.2 million annually. Martine Rothblatt can even attribute some of her success to living the first half of her life presenting as male, but now that she is presenting female, she makes over $100 million dollars less than the highest paid CEO. She doesn’t even touch Forbes’ list of Top 10 Highest Paid CEOs, all of which are old white men. Number 10, John C. Martin, makes $43.2 million annually, Compare any data between women and men working at the same job, and you’ll find that women make less, every time.
There are many factors that are causing the gender wage gap. “60 percent of the wage gap can be attributed to known factors such as work experience at 10 percent, union status at 4 percent, and… choice of occupation at 27 percent, among other measureable differences. A woman’s work experience is abbreviated if she needs to take maternity leave or take time off from a job to care for a child, which she is more likely to do than her male counterpart. Another quarter of the wage gap is attributable to the differences in wages paid by industries that employ mostly men or mostly women.” On the other hand, factors such as greater access to higher education for females are helping to decrease the wage gap. This has closed the gap by about 7%, but it’s still not enough. “Women need an additional degree in order to make as much as men with a lower degree over the course of a lifetime.
A woman would need a doctoral degree, for instance, to earn the same as a man with a bachelor’s degree, and a man with a high school education would earn approximately the same amount as a woman with a bachelor’s degree.” Even with all these numbers, all the reasons as to why the wage gap can be explained by anything other than sexism, there still remains a gap of 10 cents on the dollar. “More than 40 percent of the gender wage gap is “unexplained,” meaning that there is no obvious measureable reason for a difference in pay. This leaves us with possible explanations that range from overt sexism to unintentional gender-based discrimination to reluctance among women to negotiate for higher pay.” The likelier cause is that sexism is running rampant throughout the world, particularly the United States, and it is causing a wage gap that is harming women.
The wage gap is detrimental to women everywhere. Not even the most successful women can escape being given less money for the same amount of work. The less successful women are left with barely any money to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves and their families, often making them dependent on others. Dependency harms a woman’s state of mind and the way other people see her, which can lead to even more discrimination. Women are people, just as men are, and the idea that the wage gap doesn’t exist is nothing more than sexism, whether it’s intentional or not.
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