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Gender Pay Gap Is A Worldwide Problem

Sample Paper 3 by Virginia Thompson, Spring 2011

No matter how many degrees or experience a woman may have there is still inequality with the pay they receive compared to men, and this problem is global. Henslin states, "one of the most remarkable areas of gender inequality at work, the pay gap."(1) Women have become a large part of the work source through out the world, yet they are continually discriminated against in the form of compensation. Women and men do the same jobs, with the same vivacity and expertise but women receive much less pay for the same work. There is still discrimination going on throughout the world for women and there does not seem to be much change in sight. This discriminatory social process is being viewed and studied but not changed. This trend is a worldwide problem that affects the workplace and the economy all across the globe. Women continue to be victims of discrimination and being told they will never be as good as men, and it shows in their paychecks.

If we look at the statistics regarding the pay gap it becomes clear how big of a problem this is. The discrimination in numbers is clear. According to Henslin, "The pay gap is so great that U.S. women who work full time average only 69 percent of what men are paid."(1). The pay gap covers all areas of jobs and educational backgrounds. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) shows"gender pay gap in median earnings for full-time employees"(2) as being: Australia 17%, Japan 33%, United States 19%, Sweden 15%, and United Kingdom 21%. This is obviously a worldwide issue that affects women and is a problem that needs to be continually addressed. The OECD states, "in many countries, labour market discrimination- ie the unequal treatment of equally productive individuals only because they belong to a specific group-is still a crucial factor inflating disparities in employment and the quality of job opportunities."(3). The also explain, "30% of the variation in gender wage gaps across OECD countries can be explained by discriminatory practices in the labour market."(4). It is clearly seen here as a problem women face globally and women continue to be the victims of gender inequality.

This type of discrimination leads to tension and resentment in the workplace. The "man's world" still exists within the workforce and is shown here in the gender pay gap problem. Women are continually trying to find ways to fit into this masculine derived community. As we see, in order for women to try and get fair compensation they must work harder and act as a man would in the business setting. Even though this is a known fact and it is clearly discriminatory there has been little change in the area of gender pay-gap. The trend of women getting more education and streaming into the more competitive work places has been on a steady rise since around the 1940's. While women have begun to fight for the right to equal pay, we are still a long way away from the ideal. It is disturbing to know that entering college women can succeed and have the same training and still be denied the right to the same pay as men. Throughout the world the message of being less-than because you are female is still very prevalent when we look at the gender pay gap.

Gender pay gap not only affects the work place but the economy as well. A study done in Australia by the National Center for Social and Economic Modeling, shows how eliminating the gender pay gap can help the economy. "A 2009 report for the Australian Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs argued that in addition to fairness and equity there are also strong economic imperatives for addressing the gender wage gap."(5). They go on to state, "the researchers estimated that a decrease in the gender wage gap of 1 percentage point from 17% to 16% would increase GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita by approximately $260. This equates to around $5497 million. The results also indicate that eliminating the whole gender wage gap from 17% to zero, could be worth around $93 billion. The researchers also estimate that removing the negative effects associated with the prime determinant of the gap, that is being a woman, could add around $56 billion to the total annual GDP." (5). This study is startling evidence how not only is eliminating the gender pay gap good within the workplace but it can have a substantially positive impact on the economy. This shows how the gender pay gap can stimulate the economy, it is surprising how much we can hold on to our old male-dominated ideas when such positive effects can come from change.

In another article from Britain titled, Gender Pay Gap costs UK economy ?23bn a Year. Two commission members said in a joint statement, "The continued division of jobs into men's work and women's work is holding back our economy at a time when the challenge from abroad means we need to be operating a peak levels of performance."(6). From the title of this article we can see again how the gender pay gap effects the economy all around the world. The lack of change is having negative impacts within the working world and as well as the economic issues that impedes us all over the globe. As shown here by the studies done in both Australia and the United Kingdom there only favorable outcomes from disintegrating the gender pay gap.

While it has been a beginning for women entering higher education and workforce areas, there is still much change that needs to occur. The women who receive higher degrees are still not guaranteed the same compensation for their efforts. Women automatically receive less pay right out of college than men do with the same education. The discrimination begins there, but does not end there. Henslin explains, "to make $2,700 more a month all you have to do is be born a male and graduate from college."(1). This is a startling example for women trying to make better lives for themselves and their families. Another alarming statistic in Henslin is the The Gender Pay Gap, by Education, Figure 10.5, p.277, which shows male college graduates earn on average $87,777 and women college graduates earning only $55,222. While only half of this gap is due to career choices, the main factor for women and men competing in the same job is gender discrimination. This type of discrimination needs to be eliminated for the benefit of society as a whole. We are just a the cusp of change in this area and continued studies and laws made need to be put into place in order for this to occur.

As we can see the gender pay gap has many negative aspects. The disgruntled worker never makes for a healthy and productive work environment. Women who feel they are not being compensated for the same hard work as men are beginning to rise up and stand for what is right. This does not bode well for equality across the globe. This issue is affecting woman all around the world, in all industrialized societies woman are getting paid less than men for the same job. This has become a globally common practice of gender inequality. This enhances the views of women being the weaker gender. As we continue to see more women fighting their way up the corporate ladder let us hope there will be a change in the pay scale discrimination as well. The only way for this to be accomplished is to unceasingly expose the large gap in gender pay. When we look at how gender pay discrimination also impinges the economy, it is baffling that the change is not happening at a more rapid pace. The economy of industrialized societies can be positively impacted by eliminating gender pay discrimination. This is a very strong argument that can have a significant impact on our suffering economy. The evidence of this alone should be enough for us to rethink this nonsensical discrimination of gender inequality. This can only lead to more productive and progressive camaraderie not only within the workplaces but across the globe.

Works Cited

1.Henslin, James M. 2009. Essentials of Sociology. A Down-To-Earth Approach, Eighth Edition. Allyn and Bacon: Boston MA, 2009
OECD Main Page
2.OECD. OECD Employment Outlook 2008-Statistical Annex
OECD, Paris, 2008 p.358
3.OECD. OECD Employment Outlook-2008 Edition.
OECD, Paris, 2008 p.3-4
4.OECD. OECD Employment Outlook. Chapter 3: The Price of Prejudice: Labour Market Discrimination on the Grounds of Gender and Ethnicity.
OECD, Paris,2008.
5.National Center for Social and Economic Modeling. The impact of a sustained gender wage gap on the economy.
Report to the Office for Women. Department of Families, Community Services, Housing and Indigenous Affairs, 2009 p.v-vi.
6.Grice, Andrew, Political Editor, The Independent. Gender Pay Gap Costs UK Economy ?23bn a Year. 27, February 2006.