A lot is said about the gender pay gap. The question as to whether women do in real fact earn less than men has been discussed for quite a while and a myriad of opinions are shared on this topic. In this article, we discuss the potential reasons as to why women may earn less than men.
Although women have progressed significantly in terms of education and other work skills, numerous research studies conducted show that women earn less than men. This inequality leaves women in precarious situations with declining career satisfaction, decreased opportunities for promotions and less stable retirement plans. This raises the question: Are women more dependent on their male counterparts for financial stability?
Not only does the pay gap exist, research conducted by the US Department of Labor indicates a number of patterns which places women in a cycle of low earning. One of the issues is occupational segregation. Women are directed and enticed to seek jobs which complement motherhood, jobs which require fewer hours of work and are more flexible. In certain cases, such jobs normally come with lower incomes and pay caps. A case in point in Malta would be women being enticed to pursue teaching careers due to the convenient working hours when compared with other careers which occupy longer hours. On the other hand, males are more likely to be pushed into more challenging careers and business/science related subjects. Since women are automatically segregated into less high paying areas, are placed on track for lower level salary earnings. This raises important questions. What is being done to combat this segregation? Is there more awareness that jobs shouldn’t be gender based?
Research by the American Association of University Women indicates that pay between males and females is not the same right after graduation. From their very first job, women are locked into less paying jobs when compared to their male counterparts. This is worth noting, especially when considering that in many instances women get higher grades than men.
Women are also hit with the motherhood fine. The biggest impact on pay is when women have children. University of Massachusetts sociology professor Michelle Budig found women’s earnings slip by 4 percent for each child they have. Following childbirth employers may believe that women become less committed to their roles. This is also coupled with the fact that women may be involved more in housework following their long day at work.
Another argument is the fact that women lose out on pay increases when they step out of the workforce to tend to their children and family members. When seeing this in the long term, a few years out of the workforce has a lasting impact on women’s financial sustainability.
So what do you think is the reality about the gender pay gap? Do you think this is an exaggerated concept? Is it true that women earn less than men?