The difference between the amount of money paid to men and women is a worldwide issue. The problem has been persistent for decades despite women’s efforts for equality in the job market. According to Schieder and Gould (2016), “women are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men”. (1) Most organizations, particularly private companies, pay less salary to women than men with similar academic qualifications and holding a similar job position. An evaluation of causes of gender pay like human productivity factors, occupational segregation, and discrimination, as well as its manifestation, can help understand the issue’s impact on women and the economy and develop strategies to address it.
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The drivers of the gender pay gap in various countries are categorized into four. The first group comprises productivity or human factors, including skills, level of education, and experience (Litman et al., 2020). Men and women have different skills needed to execute particular responsibilities which are paid more money. Additionally, some communities and families educate males more than females, a factor that deprives women of an opportunity to earn as much as men. Familial responsibilities such as rearing children deny women the time needed to amass knowledge and understanding of their careers (Schieder & Gould, 2016). The second category involves occupational or industry segregation and the third one is “gender-specific temporal flexibility constraints,” which can influence remuneration and promotions (Litman et al., 2020, p. 2). The last factor is discrimination in hiring, compensation, task assignment, and promotions. As a result, men end up earning more income than women.
The gender pay gap is an essential manifestation of economic discrimination against women. Schieder and Gould (2016) note that some people associate the pay gap between men and women with their voluntary choices, particularly regarding occupation. Such allegations underestimate the role played by gender discrimination in suppressing earnings for women. Undeniably, “gender discrimination can occur at any stage besides in pay-setting employers’ practices, influencing female’s labor market outcomes” (Schieder & Gould, 2016, p. 2). Discriminative culture in parenting and occupations promote the gender pay gap. Parents steer their girls to particular educational and professional paths, which increases the possibility of treating women differently than men even when they are in the same job group. For example, parents encourage their male children to pursue science, technology, and engineering fields more than females, raising chances for earning disparities between them. Conversely, women who chose the areas dominated by men quit because of the hostile environment fostered by employers and extreme job pressure (Schieder & Gould, 2016). These factors are oppressive to women and perpetuate the gender wage gap.
The gender pay gap hurts women as well as the economy because of reduced satisfaction and productivity. Although some women have the same knowledge and skills as men, they have higher chances of earning less than their male counterparts for a similar task (Schieder & Gould, 2016). This aspect can be discouraging, lowering women’s job satisfaction and engagement. Women may feel less contented with their job because of unequal pay between them and men for comparable executed responsibilities. Additionally, the gender pay gap suppresses women, making it challenging for them to balance between family and work. Their level of dedication and enthusiasm can be reduced significantly because of discriminative payment policies and they become less productive, which not only harms their organizations but also slows economic growth. Fewer earnings among women mean that they have a smaller amount of disposable income to spend on their well-being. They perpetually depend on men for financial support, which is not always welcomed or fulfilled under certain conditions favorable to males. Thus, it is essential to close the gender pay gap to alleviate its negative impacts on females and the economy.
Addressing earning disparities between men and women and their impacts requires a focus on the factors contributing to the issue. An essential strategy of closing the earning gap between males and females is by creating awareness among employers to end the stereotyping of women as weak. Employers need to understand that women have equal capabilities as men when equipped with similar resources. The strategy encourages employment equality, remuneration, task assignment, and promotion opportunities for both men and women. Additionally, changing the notion of gender-specific jobs helps reduce the pay gap since more women will follow lucrative career paths dominated by men. Moreover, the issue can be solved by developing and implementing policies that discourage employers from fostering an environment hostile to women working in science and other well-paying occupations. These strategies enhance women’s job satisfaction and engagement, besides reducing the wage gap.
In conclusion, the gender pay gap is real and has adverse effects on women regardless of their job group. The payment inequality between males and females is contributed by social and economic factors such as education, skills, and occupational segregation. The issue hurts women and the economy because it lowers their job satisfaction and engagement as well as their productivity. The gender pay gap and its impacts can be addressed by targeting factors that led to the issue.
Litman, L., Robinson, J., Rosen, Z., Rosenzweig, C., Waxman, J., & Bates, L. (2020). The persistence of pay inequality: The gender pay gap in an anonymous online labor market. PLOS ONE, 15(2), 1-17.
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Schieder, J., & Gould, E. (2016). “Women’s work” and the gender pay gap: How discrimination, societal norms, and other forces affect women’s occupational choices—and their pay. Web.