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Gender Pay Gap in the Modern Society


The participation of women in the job market increased substantially during the final half of the twentieth century. Overall, women have recorded increased participation in the labor market right from the 1960s to the 1980s, before slackening in the 1990s (The United States, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). In the 21st century, the engagement of women in the job environment started a gradual waning, until the involvement proportion hit a new low in 2015 at about 56.7 percent (The United States, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019). However, in the face of this progress, a substantial wage gap occurs between women and men. The paper analyzes the reasons behind this gap using Fox’s frames of reference, substantiates the role of key actors in widening or closing the pay disproportion, and explains how minimum standards impact genders inversely.

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The Causes of Gender Remuneration Gap

The gender compensation disparity remains a consistent staple of the news headlines in recent years, as firms publish their data on the subject with close analysis revealing the severity of the situation. Income inequality computations mirror the fraction of men’s pay to women’s in all sectors. The method is decisive since it permits professionals to document the several factors causing this earning disparity as discussed below.

Low Representation in Management

Fewer women than men have ascended into leadership and management positions, particularly at higher scales. When women are supervisors, they incline to be more focused on management support roles such as financial administration and human resources than in other strategic duties (International Labor Organization, 2020). Such a scenario scales down the average remuneration of women administrators compared to that of male counterparts. International Labor Organization (ILO) approximates that women on average remain compensated roughly 20 percent less than men across the globe. Some countries record massive differences from a high of more than 45 percent to scarcely any variance.

Working Hours

The gender wage disproportion is often a result of the varied workforce participation by men and women. According to International Labor Organization (2019), women predominantly work on a part-time basis than men in nearly 73 countries under review. The situation is often associated with women taking considerable time on unpaid leave to attend to family responsibilities. Alternatively, women are also in part-time jobs due to a lack of reasonable and timely childcare. Moreover, their chances for a full-time job can be more restrictive than men’s, making them assume part-time engagement. Notably, the part-time job does not regularly offer benefits relative to those in full-time occupation, leading to reduced compensation package over considerable time.

Time out of the Workforce

It is more likely for women than men to prefer career breaks to take family responsibilities or other matters of grave concern. Such a situation infers that when women revert to a job, they would have probably declined in remuneration and advancement. In numerous states, job discontinuities and part-time engagement might not exist due to the availability of domestic workers to offer required support (International Labor Organization, 2019). Nevertheless, as the labor environment evolve, the circumstance can change, making women record reduced average pay compared to men.


In recent years, women are bettering men in numerous areas as tertiary graduates, and they are progressing well into mathematics, engineering, technology, and sciences disciplines. Nonetheless, women still stay behind men in these areas linked to higher-paid jobs (International Labor Organization, 2019). While most women currently qualify for technical subjects, it can be difficult for them to obtain and uphold a career in these fields since they are customarily male subjugated.

Feminized Jobs

Work-related gender casting leads to some professions being held principally by women, resulting in “women job” being belittled for resolutions of wage percentage determination. It lowers the pay for women than men as feminized industries and occupations tend to remunerate less than those careers controlled by men (International Labor Organization, 2019). Moreover, enterprises that use a majority female incline to have reduced pay than firms engaging mainly men.

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Fox’s Frames of Reference

Work is a central aspect of an individual’s life, making its governance and nature a unique social phenomenon that invokes powerfully passionate discussion. The title, ‘frames of reference’ is a theoretical term first used by Alan Fox in 1966 to classify varied thoughts held by individuals towards work-related issues (Bray et al., 2017). Fox proposed three frames; pluralist, unitarist, and Marxist credentials that can also explain the existing gender pay gap.

Unitarist Frame of Reference

The unitarist model was a descriptive and normative perspective held by many leaders of how institutions need anchorage in administrative values. It serves to legitimate a leader’s power, administration, and control (Watson, 2017). Such a perspective reinforced the conviction that clash during work relations and deficiency of confidence was a challenge, entrenched in the quest of sectional curiosity, heightened by the partisan motivation. The unitarist values and assumptions such as those held under the scientific management model can help in explaining the gender pay gaps (Bray et al., 2017). As a management exercise, this conception asserts that employment relations should begin from the presumption that the workforce is immature and has limited, self-oriented aspirations. The gender pay gaps can commence right from recruiting and directing staff to have untrammelled prerogatives to manage the process and pace of work. Ideally, the workforce needs collective and impersonal handling to address outstanding issues of concern.

Pluralist Frame of Reference

The pluralist perspective sought to overcome the challenges presented by the unitarist model, especially by identifying the confines of coercion. Fox posited that this frame was a more representative analysis of employment relations, consisting of divergent sectional groups and interests, narrowly bordering on a minuscule democratic state (Watson, 2017). The low participation of women in administration, which causes the salary inequity, can be analyzed from a pluralist school of thought. Sources of leadership should be accepted and comprehended to allow the equitable representation of both genders in leadership.

Marxist Frame of Reference

Postulated by Karl Marx, the model argues that capitalist societies exhibit unending class fights caused by disparities in wealth distribution and skewed possession of the land highly held by the bourgeoisie while the proletariat lurches in poverty. His radical perspective explains the gender pay gaps since the theory is rooted in the alienation triggered by exploitations of a single group by another the same competition (Bingham, 2017). Men will always want to dominate the job environment, leading to a gap in pay.

The Role of Key Actors (Unions, Employers, and the State)

A labor union, an association of wage-earners, champions the interests of its members. Employee representatives can play a vital role in closing the gender pay gap by bargaining over wages and seeking equitable employment of gender. They can also negotiate for changes to reverse negative trends that have immensely contributed to the increased gender pay gap (Tomlinson et al., 2018). Employers can cause the widening of pay gaps through policies that suffocate transitioning and advancement of women into the formal job market. Employers can also reduce the gender pay gap by offering advice on employment and professional matters that seeks to enhance women’s involvement in the labor market (Bingham, 2017). The state can lower the gender remuneration gap by formulating and executing policies that promote women’s participation in the job market (Tomlinson et al., 2018). The government can also encourage women to acquire skills in largely male-dominated areas.

How Minimum Standards Influence Genders Differently

Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Act of 2012 created minimum standards with its operationalization beginning from 2014. The act requires employers to institute strategies and policies conform to gender equality pointers. The standards are policy needs for employers to embrace sound gender diversity and equality in the workplace (Australia Government, Federal Register of Legislation, 2021). The minimum standards touch on the gender composition of the company’s workforce, equal payment between men and women, readiness and utility of employment conditions, as well as sex-based discrimination and harassment (Cassells et al., 2017)). The act influences the gender pay gap by supporting equality in the business workplace coupled with equal remuneration in both genders.


In conclusion, the gender compensation imbalance remains an issue of concern across the globe. The work has established reasons behind this gap using Fox’s frames of references. It has also demonstrated the role of key actors in widening or closing the pay disproportion, as well as expounding how minimum standards influence genders differently. Factors such as minimal representation in leadership, education, feminized works, and working hours cause gender pay disproportion. Moreover, Fox’s frames of reference such as pluralist, unitarist, and Marxist elaborate issues of gender remuneration disparities.

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Australian Government, Federal Register of Legislation. (2021). Workplace gender equality (minimum standards) instrument 2014. Web.

Bingham, C. (2017). Employment relations: Fairness and trust in the workplace (1st ed.). Sage.

Bray, M., Waring, P., Cooper, R., & Macneil, J. (2017). Employment relations: Theory and practice (4th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

Cassells, R., Duncan, A. S., & Ong, R. (2017). Gender equity insights 2017: Inside Australia’s gender pay gap. Workplace Gender Equality Agency. Web.

International Labor Organization. (2020). Women in business and management: Understanding the gender pay gap. Web.

The United States, Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2019). Women in the labor force: A databook. Web.

Tomlinson, J., Baird, M., Berg, P., & Cooper, R. (2018). Flexible careers across the life course: Advancing theory, research and practice. Human Relations, 71(1), 4-22. Web.

Watson, T. (2017). Sociology, work and organization (7th ed.). Taylor & Francis.

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