With the formation of the free United States, the Founding Fathers dreamed of a country in which all men and women were equal. It has come a long way, but unfortunately, some things remain unequal, such as pay for both men and women. There is a large gap between the pay men receive and the pay women receive, and it isn’t getting much better.
The Gap Favors Men
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, men make an average of 22 percent more than women. Some occupations have a startlingly high gap of 35-45 percent, making it all too clear that the pay gap leans more towards men.
The Gap Has Barely Changed in a Decade
Since women began entering the workforce in droves during World War II, there has been inequality in pay. Beginning in the 1960s, the pay gap steadily began to close. From the 1960s to the early 2000s, the gap has made progress, reaching almost equality in 1990, 1997, and 2002. However, since that time, the pay gap has leveled off and barely changed.
The Gap Increases for Non-White Women
Unfortunately, race is an issue that increases the pay gap. Asian American women have the smallest pay gap with just a 10 percent difference, but Hispanic women have the largest at 46 percent less than the average white man’s earnings.
The Gap Knows No Occupation
Almost every occupation suffers from a pay gap. When men are offered positions, they are almost always offered more salary than women, whether elementary school teachers or computer programmers. This goes even for female-dominated occupations, such as nursing. Even though women make up 90 percent of the nursing population, men are still paid more than women.
The Gap Is Not Reduced by Education
Educators and mentors encourage higher levels of education in order to increase overall salary, and it is very effective in that sense. Most occupations today ask for a bachelors degree or higher with a masters degree preferred, and the result is higher pay. However, higher education does nothing to reduce the gender pay gap. When compared with white men with the same level of education, women will almost always be paid less.
The Gap Increases with Age
On average, women ages 18-35 earn about 90 percent of what men earn, showing some improvement in the overall gap. However, after that, they typically decrease in salary, earning as little as 75 percent of men’s average salary.
The Gap Exists for Women Without Children
Many people have tried to explain the age gap by saying that women with children have less time to devote to a job. However, studies show that those without children are still paid an average of 20 percent less than men, showing that children are not the largest factor in the pay gap after all.