In the land of the free, and the home of the brave, equality is still a rather hard thing to accomplish.
In the land of the free, and the home of the brave, equality is still a rather hard thing to accomplish. In not only the United States, but other countries around the world, the gender wage gap is a detrimental setback to the rights of women everywhere. This not only affects women, but their families as well.
The gender wage gap is defined as the average difference between the hourly earnings of men and the hourly earnings of women. It is suggested by experts that the wage gap has a wide range of causes, not just one. Some of these factors are differences in the positions held by men and women, differences in the annual pay of these jobs, differences in the amount of work experience the two genders have, and breaks in employment due to such things as pregnancy or taking care of ill family.
“To every dollar a man makes, a woman makes but 77 cents,” President Barack Obama said during his State of the Union address earlier this year. This discouraging affirmation of sexism and inconsistency of gender wages have been studied, and the cause behind it has been theorized, but has not yet been found. There have been a multitude of conflicting theories made by scientists and groups who are working together to attempt to understand and eradicate the wage gap.
The types of jobs that are predominantly occupied by women are often the ones that are paid the lower wages and provide fewer opportunities for employee training, development, and advancement of said employee’s sought-after career. The industries and occupations that are female dominated (such as nursing, childcare, waitressing, modeling, elderly care, secretary work, reception, and maid work) are more traditionally undervalued while the occupations that are dominated by males are far more revered and are seen as the more important of the two.
The wage gap changes from one state to the next, and can be either higher or lower than the country’s average. Hitting close to home, the average percent that women earn opposed to men in North Carolina is 82 percent, according to the American Association of University Women. Some states’ gaps are particularly larger than others, while some of them change only a few cents from the average. “The gap is at its widest in the state of Wyoming, where the average woman’s salary is only 64 percent of a man’s salary,” according to the AAUW report. It is the narrowest in states that are farther in the North such as Nevada, Vermont and Maryland. In these three states, women earn 85 percent of what a man earns compared to the measly 77 percent average of the United States. With the exception of Washington D.C., which is at 90 percent, these states’ equal pay rates are the highest out of the entire country. There is no state where women’s earnings are completely equal to men.
The gender wage gap affects all lifestyles and walks of life across the world — from different ethnic groups to different races and religions. “African-American women made 89 cents to every dollar African-American men made. Hispanic women earn 79 cents compared to a Hispanic man, and Asian women earn 79 cents for every dollar made by an Asian man,” according to Debbie Hines’ article “Why Women Make Less than Men in 2014.” The wage gap is often lower for these groups of people primarily because wages for people of color tend to be much lower in general as compared to whites.
This is a blatant example of racial discrimination. Racial discrimination is illegal, but still it affects people in their everyday lives.
The gender wage gap is a criminal and heinous abomination that causes inequality, unjust pay, and discrimination throughout the world. It is an abhorrent and disgraceful blemish on the face of the equality that is blossoming in this up-and-coming society. If the proper steps are put into action, along with the implementation of educating the public about the gender wage gap, which some even consider a myth, it may be lowered substantially, or in an optimistic view, even completely eradicated.
The article was written by Havelock High senior Tegan Paris as part of her graduation project.