Essays About Gender Equality
The gender pay gap is defined as the difference between what men and women are paid for exerting the same amount of work (Harris, Briony). The gender wage gap is the end result of many different factors, some since the beginning of time, all coming together and leading to discrimination and unjust actions against women. It gives men an advantage and women an extreme disadvantage in the workplace. The gender pay gap is an increasing problem all around the world that has been occurring ever since the beginning of mankind, and meaningful actions must be taken to finally stop this issue.
Women make up about half of the workforce, which is to be expected, and are still not getting an equal representation. Despite women achieving just as much as men and sometimes even more, it is clear: the hole among people’s salaries remains and it does not seem like it will be changing soon. Aauw.org says “In a comparison of occupations with at least 50,000 men and 50,000 women in 2017, 107 out of 114 had statistically significant gaps in pay that favored men; six occupations had no significant gap; and just one had a gap favoring women.” Contrasted with white men, white women working all day earn 80 cents to each dollar a man procures (Miller, Kevin). Race also plays an issue in salary: African American women make 64 percent of white males salaries, and Latina, 54 percent (Miller, Kevin).
To understand the gender pay gap, it is important to know where it stemmed from. Women have not been treated equally to men since the beginning of time. They have always discriminated upon and seen as less, to “the more superior gender,” men since the beginning of mankind. Before receiving their rights, women were stereotypically told to clean the houses and take care of their children. They did not have much importance other than this. Women all around the world did not leave the house often and were not allowed to have any of the jobs that men did before the 1800s. They were not allowed to own land, and they were certainly not allowed to vote. Women did not necessarily have a role outside of the household; but they definitely had one in it.
Who knows why women have been treated with discrimination since the break of dawn? Maybe it is because of the fact that women are the ones who are able to get impregnated and give birth to children; but wouldn’t that make them even more superior? Without women, humans would not be able to reproduce, but the same goes for men as well. Maybe this is the reasoning behind this unfair treatment. Since women are the ones who have the babies, they are automatically associated with having to be involved with them and raising them. However, does this really make the stigma of women being the household gender okay?
Beginning in the year 1850 women activists began seeking equal rights as their male counterparts. During this year, the first National Women’s Rights Convention was held in Worcester, Massachusetts and attracted over one thousand people. By the time the year 1869 came, women’s rights activists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucy Stone, Henry Blackwell, and Susan B. Anthony had already formed the National Women’s Suffrage Association. In December 10th of that year, Wyoming passed the first women’s suffrage law. By 1870, women started to serve on juries in Wyoming as well. By 1920, women finally received the right to vote, after much effort and many failed attempts. On August 18th, 1920, the 19th amendment was passed guaranteeing all American women the right to vote. Despite women tiressley striving to achieve their rights that they should have obtained since the beginning, this was only the beginning of the end of unfair treatment against their gender.
Reasons for the gender wage gap could also be found in households. According to Kathy Kristof, “To be specific, the average boy gets a $13.80 weekly allowance. The average girl gets less than half as much — just $6.71. Parents pay boys an average bonus of $17.01, while girls get $15.52.” Parents may not even realize it, but most of them are paying their sons more to do the same tasks as their daughters. This is extremely faulty because reasons like this are why the gender wage gap continues to live on even in a day and age like this, where so many people claim they wish equality for every human, no matter what or who they are. This being the case, parents need to realize their faults and terminate them immediately. They need to see that they play a huge role in continuing the unjustifiable treatment of women, and that if they want to stop the issue they need to look into it and realize that they could be a part in where it is stemming from.
However, it may not be all the parents’ fault. According to Kristof, the parents are paying their sons to perform simple tasks of hygiene. Polls show that some boys are being paid 50 cents to brush their teeth and two dollars to shower; and that the parents are treating these basic needs like chores. She speculates that girls are not having to be paid to do these “chores” because they are known to actually want to groom themselves and typically have more cleanliness skills, while boys see it as a chore. This brings a whole new reason to why the gender pay gap ever started: stereotypes. Men are known to be stronger and less emotional, while women are looked upon as weak and less independent. And while these may be true, where did these stereotypes come from? Is there actually any evidence to prove that men are actually genetically stronger? These stereotypes could have just formed out of nowhere and, since they are stereotypes, men had to continually follow them to be accepted into society. Now, these stereotypes could be another main reason why the gap is still here.
Another aspect that has been linked to the gender wage gap in today’s society is motherhood. Claire Cain Miller states, “The new working paper, which covered the broadest group of people over time, found that between ages 25 and 45, the gender pay gap for college graduates, which starts close to zero, widens by 55 percentage points. For those without college degrees, it widens by 28 percentage points.” She goes on to say “Much of that happens early in people’s careers, during women’s childbearing years. The American Economic Review paper, which examined people born around 1970, found that almost all of the pay gap for college graduates came from ages 26 to 33.” These statistics prove that childbirth is yet another reason as to why the gap is happening. But, it is not women’s faults that they are the ones who form a baby in their wombs for nine months to continue to give life to the world. And, more importantly, people have been wondering if there would be a reverse gender pay gap occurring if men happened to be the ones who gave birth.
People who are against the gender pay gap have many ideas as to why they believe that the gap is justifiable. Some use the fact that women are the ones who get pregnant as an argument, while others have different “reasons.” A lot of critics say that women “choose lower paying jobs,” such as teachers. They may have a point about this statement due to the fact that women make up over 80% of the teaching faculty around the world, however, men are STILL paid more in the teaching industry than women are (Whitmore, Richard). About 90 percent of medical attendants are ladies, yet the 10 percent of male medical students still somehow manage to make more than them (Whitmore, Richard). Female secretaries, gain 84.5 pennies of a white male secretary’s dollar. Truth be told ladies acquire not as much as men, by and large, in 99.6 percent everything being equal (NY Times). This proves that even in women-dominated jobs, gender pay gap issues are still very prominent. Other people against it say that women do not negotiate their pay, and that men work harder than women. This again falls under the stereotypical issue that revolves around gender differences that is obliged to be terminated. People’s genders should not define who they are, what traits they have, the jobs they are required to have, and, more importantly, their salaries.
The counterarguments continue to make no sense. People have claimed that women are less educated than men and therefore should not earn as much as them, which obviously is not true. People’s IQs and intelligences have nothing to do with their genders. Women can be just as smart and hardworking as men, and in many cases exceed them. Some critics have even claimed that the gender wage gap is a complete myth. They say that it is just a social construct made up by feminists to give them attention. This statement is beyond outrageous and extraordinarily untrue. The statistics do not lie and they prove that still, at this very moment, almost every woman that is working just as hard and vigorously as a man doing so at the same rate- is earning less.
Fortunately, actions are being taken to stop the gender wage gap once and for all. There are many ideas currently circulating around the world to finally end this issue. One thing that would ensure an end in stopping it is government interference. Iceland’s government has found a way to ensure equal pay for both genders in its country. It passed a law that required every company with 25 or more staff to gain a certificate to ensure that both genders are paid the same amount, making it the first country that has passed a law demonstrating gender pay equality (Market Inspector). Another resolution would be to enforce paternity leave. This has been demonstrated in Sweden since 1974, where they have a practice that they call “shared maternity leave.” During this, of the 480 days paid for parental leave, 90 of them are reserved for the father. Another effective solution would be to promote female entrepreneurship (Market Inspector). This company called Market Inspector says that “Policies that reduce barriers which prevent women from starting and developing their own businesses would result in encouraging more women to become entrepreneurs. This would help narrow multiple gender gaps such as female startup rates, productivity, and profitability of businesses,” and has many solutions on how to terminate the gender pay gap once and for all. Women need to know that they are just as capable as men and can achieve as much and sometimes even more that they do.
That being said, the only way for change to happen is if everyone sees the problem for what it is. Equal pay is not only a problem in The U.S. but it is also the law. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 “guarantees” equal wage for both sexes, however people can see that this is extremely untrue and is certainly not happening in the world today. People think women not getting paid equally is a problem but not a priority. The problem with this is that equal pay is not only a law, but a human right. The reason people say ending the gender wage gap never happen is because of the fact that it is only affecting women. Men do not have to worry about this problem, therefore they don’t. With men making up almost half of our population, it is vital for them to see this issue or the problem will continue (Hymowitz, Kay S.).
The gender pay gap has been a problem for several years and continues to be an important topic of debate in America. With both sides continuously arguing, there are times it may seem this conflict will never end. It has taken many years to be heard, and it will take many more for change to occur. There should be no reason for this gap to have been established in the first place and it needs to be taken care of immediately. But, the pay gap remains today, and unless the problem is seen as not only a matter of equality, but as a right to every human being who lives in this country.
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