Wage Inequality: How it had Evolved
Updated: Aug 13, 2020
“Hiring and promoting talented women is the right thing to do for society - and it’s an economic imperative” - Carios Ghosn
In modern society, gender wage gaps have been infamous across the globe, and it has continued gaining attention around the world. Since the 19th century, scholars have been conducting research and studies upon the matter, and they have concluded that men are more favoured by employers overall with exceptions such as in the hospital industry. The agriculture society we had before had influenced employers’ perception of gender. It is a legacy that we strive to undo.
As the progressing society today, gender wage gaps have received tons of efforts to be subdued. Women’s rights movement marked by the 19th amendment is strong, and it has written our determination to provide a more just country to citizens. But while sequential case studies have shown an upward trend of higher female wages that now are comparable to men, there are still a lot of factors that have not been resolved.
In 1998, there was a case study that showed the inequality in wages and employment across different industries. While the majority of nurses and textile workers are female, workers in the steel industry are 99.4% male. There is a preposition that certain jobs are for certain genders. Although it is true that male is generally more physically strong, jobs at the time are already skewed by machines and strength is becoming less important. The cultural perception of male and female jobs are outdated and should be corrected.
Not only employers are biased towards hiring a certain gender, but their belief about an employee's justified wage also differs. Coming from the cultural perception of how males are the head of the family, wages for women are deemed less significant, and it is shown through the gender wage gap for the same job. According to IWSs, wages for males are around 30% higher than females in the same job. The phenomenon of differing wages for the same amount of work is dissatisfying, and it shows how inequality in treating different genders is truly troublesome.
At the time that the data are gathered, the major implication is that different roles in society are too bound by gender: “The main finding… is that wage differences… between men and women were primarily the result of sex segregation, particularly segregation at the occupation-establishment level” (Petersen 347). Employers, before hiring, already have a decision made about what gender they are going to employ. While our current society has the same situation, their preliminary decisions are based on their belief of gender efficiency rather than balance in gender.
Through years of promoting gender equality and decades of policymaking, the United States is one of the frontiers in this movement. US states are enacting regulations that penalize gender discrimination in employment and wages. Companies, universities, and nonprofits are all paying attention to hiring employees equally and maintaining a balance between male and female employees. No longer are the gender presumptions ruling over most employment, but there is still a skew of interest in genders.
Although employment has been monitored by governments and treatment in jobs are reported regularly, the interest each individual has in each field is still separated. People feel a sense of awkwardness when policemen and soldiers are female. Children that are growing up still preside with the social pressure against certain interests. In result, some jobs are still heavily one-sided in gender.
In a paper published this year, it shows that the employment and wage gaps in the US have generally been neutralised, and the difference in pay within the same job is dismissible. The only outliers are the ones that are considered to be affected by women’s over-the-board more attentive behaviours such as the industry in psychology studies. And still, the numbers are 49,000 male to 54,000 female. It is evident that the United States has more so dealt with gender inequality.
The only issue now is the persistence of this inequality situation outside of the US. Continents such as Africa and Asia. Non-profits such as the African Women’s Development Fund and ourselves, the Chang’e Project, are striving to make a difference and promote the idea of gender equality. Through these efforts, the already effective motions in the US could be enacted upon other areas to promote equality and to better society.
In the United States, the topic of gender inequality had grown in popularity due to efforts by governments and companies, and different issues of unequal pay and employment had been resolved one by one. It is now upon other countries to spread this idea nationally. While many countries including China have already taken progress, we have to make sure of our continued efforts in maintaining this state and prevent it from skewing either way.
While overall wage gaps have gone down in the last few decades, more overall work needs to be done in order to completely combat it. Mainly, it boils down to biases (that may or may not be noticed by the employer) and lack of government regulation in order to control this problem. This isn’t a problem in large corporations, but also ones within small groups or families where many stigmas that go against women still exist to this day in many countries. With more attention being put towards this situation, especially by non-profits in the last few years, slow improvements are being made to fix this situation, and hopefully one day, eliminate gender wage gaps.
Petersen, Trond, and Laurie A. Morgan. “Separate and Unequal: Occupation-Establishment Sex Segregation and the Gender Wage Gap.” American Journal of Sociology, vol. 101, no. 2, 1995, pp. 329–365. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/2782431. Accessed 27 July 2020.
Litman L, Robinson J, Rosen Z, Rosenzweig C, Waxman J, Bates LM (2020) The persistence of pay inequality: The gender pay gap in an anonymous online labor market. PLoS ONE 15(2): e0229383. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0229383
Writers: Aldrin, Jack