The plain and sad fact is that women earn less than men all around the world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women earn 84 cents for every dollar a man earns. Many people would find this discrepancy in the modern world inexcusable. It is also prevalent in developed countries. The gender pay gap discussion has also been part of the feminist movement. Moreover, it has grabbed the attention of politicians, journalists, and civil society members alike. However, there is still a lot to be done about it.
Over the last few decades, the gender pay gap has narrowed down. It has been a slow process, but it seems there may be light at the end of the tunnel. It is the responsibility of the government to implement The Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Title VII of The Civil Rights Act. However, these laws alone are not enough. So, we have to play our part as well. For example, next time you hire a mortgage staffing agency to employ someone, make sure you are offering equal pay. There shouldn’t be any discrimination, and it has to start from the grassroots level.
Why Does the Gender Pay Gap Still Exist?
There are many reasons for women earning less than men. It has a lot to do with discrimination. And pre-conceived ideas about women in the workforce also add to it. So, here are some main reasons that women make less money than men for the same jobs:
Glass Ceilings and Sticky Floors
An OECD paper differentiates the reasons for unequal pay as glass ceilings and sticky floors. So, glass ceilings refer to the difficulties women face in professional growth. It could be anything from a long commute or part-time caregiving duties. Since men don’t usually share the same responsibilities, it is different for them. However, it can hinder a women’s path to success. Women might not take up new jobs or promotions because of glass ceilings.
On the other hand, sticky floors are the disadvantages women face in their professional careers. Whether they’re starting out or at the age of retiring, the sticky floors are always there. These hurdles could include a misogynist boss offering them a lesser salary. Or a hostile work environment where their superior is a predator.
60% of the gender pay gap is due to glass ceilings, and OCED attributes 40% to sticky floors. No matter where the reason falls, the issues are usually complicated. There is always more than what meets the eye, and it could be hard to address directly.
Another reason could be that women are more likely to look for jobs that offer non-wage benefits. For example, a shorter commute, flexible hours, or a daycare center. Many times, women can base the decision to take up a job on factors other than professional growth. They might even settle for lesser pay if they get other benefits. Because most women have greater household responsibilities, these non-monetary advantages can help them along.
A mother is more likely to take a longer leave after having a baby than a father. So, it can be difficult for women to build experience because of career disruptions. Motherhood might be the most common reason why women take career breaks. It is also the main reason why women don’t contest for promotions. Women then also have to explain these gaps in their resumes. While men usually don’t have the same disruptions.
Whether people accept it or not, women can be victims of conscious and unconscious bias. More often than not, people can consider women to be less competent than men. They are also sometimes misrepresented and not given enough credit for their work. Moreover, employers can judge women on stricter parameters for their time with a company. Many times, bosses can offer lesser pay to women thinking they will be less efficient than men. These biases can often hurt their chances of progress.
The industries even have more women than men are usually lesser-paying than male-dominated ones. So, even if the industry has decentralized hiring with equal opportunities, women are inherently at a disadvantage. Career preferences might not be ideal because women are often under societal pressures. This is also one of the biggest reasons behind the gender wage gap.