Gender Wage Gap and Inequality

The gender wage gap is a phenomenon that measures the difference in pay between men and women in employment. This is one indicator of gender inequality in a country, especially when analyzing the labor market involvement regarding gender preferences. According to Golan (par. 1), in the article, “Ask an Economist: Is there a gender gap in promotions and pay in the top-executive market”, a gender gap exists in top executive jobs and in deciding which gender should be promoted.

Notably, the article asserts that only 10 percent of the total executive professionals in companies are women. Moreover, averagely, female professionals tend to earn less compared to their male counterparts in the workplace. However, the research further shows that women tend to earn higher than males at any given point in their careers, despite having the same demographics and backgrounds as their counterparts in the workplace (Golan par. 4).

Despite getting higher earnings than the males, it is noted that women are also subjected to fewer uncertainties regarding income and tend to be promoted faster as it is assumed that they are highly likely to leave their jobs. This view is true due to the traditional nature of women. Traditionally, women were assumed to be the homemakers and responsible for overseeing the developmental needs of their children. In effect, they were assigned sexist roles that involved attending to home duties, childbearing, and child-rearing. However, this mentality is still prevalent in the workplace today, despite the various changes that have taken place. Notably, it is assumed that women are only productive up to certain years of their careers until they desert their jobs to become family persons and take care of their families.

Further, it is assumed that women can easily leave their jobs or resign from their positions in a need to establish work-life balance as compared to the males. Thus, in spite of the narrowing pay gap, women continue to earn less than their male counterparts due to a myriad of reasons (Jonung and Persson 2). Women take a lot of their time taking care of their families and children, thereby having to reduce the number of hours they commit to the workplace to strike a balance between their families and their work. Further, some of the women quit their jobs to take care of their families. Such a trend is not notable with men, meaning that men are more reliable at the workplace. As such, a decision to promote men remains definite for a very long time.

Notably, even though most women have now attained well-paying jobs and hold more managerial jobs, especially positions that are initially male-dominated, the general women population continues to work in lower-paying occupations than their male counterparts (Blau and Kahn The gender pay 38). In effect, there are two main reasons that explain the variance in pay between men and women at the workplace. These are occupational segregation and direct discrimination that occurs among people that have attained the same educational level and experience.

Discrimination due to gender tends to be more subtle. For instance, the International Labor Organization purports that women only constitute 40.4 percent of the total working population compared to men, who cover the remaining percentage. Further, the occupational positions that women take tend to be the poorest paying jobs. These are jobs like teaching, nursing, and secretarial jobs. The trend may be attributed to two factors (Blau and Kahn 2). The first is the unpaid natural role that women pursue, which involves caring for their children and families. The second reason is the selection effect, which means that women tend to choose some occupations that favor men over them. However, employers aggravate the problem as they do not improve their work environment to suit this characteristic of women.

In effect, there are very few women working in companies, meaning that there are very few women to promote (Blau and Kahn Gender differences 5). Another reason that contributes to the amount that women earn is how women earn their skills. In effect, women have little to show in how they attained their skills as they are assumed to use less effort and energy in their quest to do so (Blau and Kahn Gender differences 2). Further, the gendered division of work implies that women have to endure inferior jobs. Therefore, they have limited bargaining power in the market compared to men.

Women would love to progress in their careers and gain better pay, but several factors hinder their ability to do so. One study has shown that women are most successful in completing their higher education compared to their male colleagues. Nonetheless, they are still paid less than their male co-workers when it comes to working. One essential barrier is that of general role and duty bias. It is a social construction that mothers are better parents than fathers. Consequently, a mother cannot be excused for choosing her career over her children in the name of attaining better pay (Blau, Brinton, and Grusky 15).

Nonetheless, women are joining the higher employment ranks, where they are rising the corporate ladder just as fast as their male colleagues. In effect, the United States employed population constitutes about 50% of women in the workforce (Blau and Khan Women’s work 764). Notably, women have also filled the 75 percent new positions of the jobs that were created in the year 2000. Globally, women have been able to endure the economic shock that hit the work industry, with most women retaining their jobs, despite 75% of the total working male population having to lose their jobs because of the effects of the great economic recession. Nonetheless, women are yet to gain higher corporate positions or rise in their leadership capacities as males. While women enter the labor market in maximum numbers, they tend to disappear over a given period. In fact, so bad is the situation that only three females were among the top 500 positions of Fortune 500 companies.

Even though women have tried to gain considerable grounds on gender equality issues like harassment and discrimination at the workplace, they still continue to struggle in attaining gender parity issues in career development and gaining top leadership positions because they struggle with balancing their career responsibilities and their role as caregivers. Thus, women find themselves lagging behind their male colleagues at the workplace. Further, even though many workplaces have designed specific policies and flexible programs allow women to return to their jobs, only a few of the companies have innovative promotion options or growth plans that can rejuvenate the careers of the females. This explains why women who have maintained their top corporate positions are likely to get promotions and attain higher salaries faster than their male colleagues.

Works Cited

Blau, Francine D., and Lawrence M. Kahn. “The Gender Pay Gap: Going, Going… But Not Gone.” The Declining Significance of Gender (2006): 37-66. Print.

“Women’s Work and Wages.” The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 8 (2008): 762-772. Print.

Gender Differences in Pay Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2000. Print.

Blau, Francine D., Mary C. Brinton, and David B. Grusky. The Declining Significance of Gender? New Jersey: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006. Print.

Golan, Limor. “Ask an Economist: Is there a Gender Gap in Promotions and Pay in the Top-Executive Market” The Regional Economist 2015. Web.

Jonung, Christina, and Inga Persson. Women’s Work and Wages New York: Routledge, 2002. Print.