News Ticker

The gender wage gap

by Kristina Howell, Copy Editor

Visual by Sam Villanueva

The wage gap has been advertised based on a claim that women make 78 cents for every dollar that a man makes. While this is true, it’s not in the way that most understand.

Women often do make a lot less money than men, but it’s not always in the same job. In fact, here at Leigh, male and female teachers make the exact same amount of money. Wage disparities come from other contributing factors.

According to a survey from PayScale, nine out of ten of the lowest-paying jobs in the U.S. are dominated by female workers.

A large reason behind this is that women are often the ones expected to stay home and take care of a family. Young men and women with the same education and the same potential will choose different paths because there’s pressure on men to go off and become high-earners and pressure on women to be okay with sitting at home and letting them. Naturally, this isn’t the case all of the time, but it happens more often than not.

Based on Census data, over 80 percent of single parents raising children are mothers; this plays a significant role in the jobs these women are able to take and the hours they are able to work.

“We need more women as leaders. If we had more women in leadership roles making decisions we would get the best qualified people and they would be earning a wage that is fair and equitable. It would no longer be based on what is expected and accepted in our society. We also need to end the double standard of gender roles. Men no longer have to be the ones that make the most money and work as the ‘breadwinners.’ Household tasks are frequently shared in today’s society and we should encourage this so women have the the same opportunity to work outside of the home and  become leaders,” said Mrs. Smiley, psychology teacher.

Research shows that men are nearly four times more likely to ask for a salary increase than women, simply due to what is expected, something that has a huge impact on pay gaps as well.

Popular actress Jennifer Lawrence is an example of such an issue. She has revealed that a large part of her own personal paycheck was less than her male co-stars because she was worried about speaking up for herself and demanding a larger amount. A large part of the actress’s worry stemmed from the fear of being labeled as impossible or a “spoiled brat,” like many other female stars who attempted negotiations. She said, “For some reason, I just can’t picture someone saying that about a man,” and therein lies the problem that women in all kinds of jobs face.

There are a lot of factors we don’t really think about that go into wage disparities. There are studies proving discrimination against women and the impact of having children on their pay, as well as studies saying that many women are making unappealing choices when it comes to majors in college, both points arguing that women are being prejudiced against, but the research here all shows that it’s more of a societal problem than one with employers.

The wage gap does exist, but it also isn’t what most people think it is, and the only way to fix it is to fix the ideas of often stereotyped roles attributed to both men and women, something that is possible, but will take a lot of time and work.