Discussing women’s rights and equality has become controversial, but feminism shouldn’t be a controversial topic. Women and girls are sometimes perceived as crazy if they want to talk about equal rights. Some people don’t think feminism is necessary today, and others think asking for gender equality makes a person stuck-up. But this stereotype isn’t good. Women and men should be able to talk about this topic because it’s important to everyone. The wage gap is especially important to me, but it shouldn’t be something that only concerns women because the wage gap impacts everyone.
“Women make 78% as much as men.” This is the most commonly cited statistic when talking about the wage gap, and it can seem pretty simplistic. However, a lot of factors contribute to that number, and there are other ways of measuring the wage gap.* Firstly, it’s important to know where the number 78% comes from. This is measured from the Census data. It measures all annual income for employees who work full-time and year-round.
Does the wage gap really matter? Why is it such a big deal that women earn 22% less than men? It takes women about one year and three months to make what a man makes in one year. This really is a big difference. Also, having any wage gap implies that men’s work is worth more than the work of women. This is certainly not a good precedent to set. If the wage gap was eliminated, many people would benefit. The country’s GDP would increase by 9%. The poverty rate for families where both parents work would fall by 25%.
Why is there such a large gap? Many factors contribute to the wage gap. Some employers just discriminate against women in general. Pay secrecy makes this easier to achieve. If employees don’t know what their co workers are earning, they won’t know if they are being paid fairly. Employers may be less likely to hire or promote young women because they may have children in the future. Also, women who have children make less than women who don’t have children. Employers penalize women who take time off to raise their children. Some studies find that women tend to work in lower paying jobs. This contributes to the wage gap. Women are pushed out of higher-paying male-dominated jobs. This can be seen when the wage gap is broken up by state.* Wyoming has the largest wage gap. In Wyoming, there are many jobs in natural resource extraction. The workforce for these jobs is composed primarily of men, and these jobs pay fairly well. In Washington, D.C., where the wage gap is the smallest, most jobs are office jobs, and the workforce is composed of both men and women. This reveals yet another problem. Male-dominated jobs, such as mining, pay more than female-dominated jobs.
Many people still don’t think the wage gap is a big problem or think it has a big impact on them. The wage gap has grown smaller over time. Recently, however, the wage gap has stopped growing smaller. In 1972 women only earned 58% as men, and in 2007 women earn 77.8% as much as men. That’s a huge improvement, however from 2007 to 2015 the wage gap only changed by 0.2%.
Surprisingly, in America, the wage gap is particularly high compared to other countries. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is an organization of developed countries that promotes world trade and the economy. According to the OECD, the United States has the fifth largest wage gap out of 28 countries. The U.S. is tied with Canada, Austria, Finland, and Switzerland. The countries with the smallest gap are Hungary, Spain, and Poland. Korea has the largest wage gap.
*The Labor Department measures the wage gap by using weekly wages, and it doesn’t include self-employed workers. They state that women make 82% of the amount that men make.
*Indiana has the fifth largest wage gap in the nation.