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Analyzing Gender Wage GapResearch Paper

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¶ … Gender Wage Gap and the dynamics around it at the work place. It is an attempt to cross-examine the issue from both work and societal standpoints.

The gender wage gap is interwoven with several factors within the U.S. There are factors that are specific to gender such as qualification, overall wage structure, discrimination, rewards for services and skills and employment in the various sectors. The closing gap between gender wage differentials in the United States compared to other places can be attributed to factors associated with gender (Blau and Kahn, 2000). That notwithstanding, the relatively large gender wage gap in the U.S. compared to the situation in other countries is attributed to high inequality in wages. This paper seeks to demonstrate how gender inequality informs the trends in gender wage gap.

Positive and Negative Aspects

If the gender gap is reduced, it would significantly influence both poverty levels among couples of the same sex and heterosexual couples. This is a fact that was captured in a report done by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. The report analyzes the real wage difference dynamics such as race, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity and seeks to determine which among them influences poverty rates the most among couples of the same sex (Jow, 2015). It is suggested that if the ethnic and racial wage gap is closed, it would significantly reduce the rates of poverty for same sex couples. Elimination of Sexual orientation wage gap would assist males in same sex couple relationships. This is a fact that has been pointed out by M.V Lee Badgett who co-authored the study mentioned in this paper earlier. The key findings of the study (Jow, 2015), also overseen by Professor Williams, a distinguished scholar at the Williams Institute, include:

The eliminating of the gender wage gap would decrease the rate of poverty among women by 7.9 to 5.4%.

The elimination of the racial wage gap would decrease the rates of poverty among African-Americans from 14.5 to 10.9%. The rate would reduce from 24.7 to 16.9% for African-American women in same sex relationships.

In the situation where Hispanics and non-Hispanics earned the same, the poverty rates would reduce to 3.8 from 4.9% for Hispanic men in same sex relationships. The poverty levels for Hispanic women would fall to 7.4% from 9.2.

There is a tendency for women in same sex relationships earning more than their counterparts in heterosexual relationships. In a scenario where they earn similar wages the poverty rates would decrease from 6.6% to 5.8%.

If men in same sex relationships earned the same as those in heterosexual relationships, the poverty rates of the earlier group would decrease from 3.3 to 2.2%.

Usually, objective studies with regard to the gender wage gap are focused on full time working individuals. These studies aim at comparing male and female workers' earnings. Blau and Kahn calculated the earnings of female to female workers based on both weekly and annual figures (Shen, 2014). The results reflect the same thing. It emphasizes that for, instance, women earned 60% of what men earned between the periods 1955 and 1970. The ratios increased significantly for the period that came after that, i.e. in the 1980s. In fact, this ratio increased to 70% by the end of the 80s. The trend changed marginally in the 1990s where the rate of women's earning reduced compared to that of men. The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics reflects the same picture. It points out that women earned 64% of what men earned in 1955. It points out that that ratio fell to 59% in 1975. The ration rose again up to 71% in 1995 (Shen, 2014).

There was a continued rise of female to female earnings in 2000 and thereafter; particularly during the Great Recession season. The study calculations, according to Blau and Kahn, computation drawing data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) show that the differential between female and male full time employees in terms of wages stood at 20% at the start of the century. The fact that the gender wage gap is currently narrowing cannot be denied. Blau and Kahn pointed out in their study that the pay gains for women tended to be concentrated among women who were younger and spread out to women in wider age groups across the spectrum; the gains are relatively higher for women in the younger age bracket. The pay gap between women with less education and men of similar education levels has been narrowed. A similar trend has been observed among highly educated women and men (Shen, 2014).

According to Roos and Gatta, after interrogating BLS and Census Microdata drawn from the periods 1970, 1980 and 1990, they infer that the that the earning gap between genders changed at different rates for the different group clusters. The racial differences illustrate that the earnings ratio for white people reduced marginally between periods 1970 and 1980. The trend turned around positively between the periods 1980 and 1990 (Shen, 2014). The earnings ratio was noted to be markedly higher than that of their white counterparts in all census. It even rose much more in the periods 1970 and 1990. White females earned 64% of what their male counterparts earned. Black women earned 81% of what their male counterparts earned in the same period. In terms of age, the researchers observed that the gender wage gap increased as people advanced in age. For instance, women between 16 and 24 years earned approximately 87% of what older women earned. The ratio stood at 67% for women between the ages of 35 and 39, and 58% for those between 50 and 54. At retirement, it was observed that the earnings ratio increased marginally upon retirement. Women aged 65 and higher earned 67% of what their male counterparts earned (Shen, 2014).

Further, women that had come out of college, and been in the field for a year, earned 82% of what their male counterparts earned. In their estimations, Carnevale and his peers pointed out that women that had a college degree and had full time jobs earned over half of a million lower than their male counterparts with similar qualifications. The historical pay gap discrepancies have informed the gender poverty gap among elderly persons. The actual figures cite 11% of elderly women but only 6% of elderly men living poor in the year 2011(Shen, 2014).

In summary, the inequality in gender wage remains, as it has been over the years, even though it has closed notably down the line, especially in recent decades. The trends point to changing characteristics at individual levels among working women and men, and complex shifts such as the structure of industry, labor market dynamics, occupation and relations in employment. It is hard to predict a positive shift with the current state of affairs.

Positivity (Recommendations) Coming in Regards to Gender Wage Gap?

There is a continued persistence of gender wage gaps in developing societies which can only be explained by our beliefs and historical biases. This implies that it is high time that families changed their beliefs about earnings so as to allow the economy to move to a unisex symmetric equilibrium. It implies that some effort is required to move us from the stereotyped symmetric equilibrium. To this end, it is necessary that effective policies be put in place to help change the society's norm (CHICHILNISKY and FREDERIKSEN, 2008).

The absence of such policies implies that we should expect the gender wage gap to persist, which is of course a reaction to the stereotyped family beliefs on gender roles. This should always be the case even in cases where there are no apparent gender discriminations/differences between men and women. Hakim found out that most couples prefer and pursue the traditional gender role even in cases where gender discrimination is not evident. According to Hakim, the only explanation for this is that women look at themselves as secondary earners and employment does not give them their own identity. According to Gerteisen Marks, Davis and Greenstein, the gender equity in the society is highly related to the equity to the division of labor in the home. This demonstrates that culture and societal norms have their foundation in families. It notes that changing these structures is a difficult task and policy makers alone cannot help resolve the problem. However, they point out that it is possible to make new institutions to acknowledge and deal with this problem.

Unfortunately, it is sad to note that women are still facing this problem today even after some efforts have been directed at helping diminish the problem. A good example of the same is the Lily ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was passed by the congress to help working women. The act came into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court disallowed an application by an employee of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber company who had sued the company for discrimination. Ledbetter attempted to sue Goodyear over the discrimination she… [END OF PREVIEW]

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