"While women have made strides in narrowing the gender pay gap over the past 50 years, progress has stalled for over a decade. Closing the pay gap is more than just a social good. For business, it is a way to boost profits and tap into a deeper talent pool. For the larger company, narrowing the pay gap could draw more women into the work force. Since lagging labor is an oft-cited factor in explaining below-trend GDP growth, increasing female labor force would provide an offset." Summary Lead
At first glance, a woman earning 80 cents for every dollar a man makes may seem like discrimination, and a problem that can easily be solved with government regulation and ennforcement. However, if you take a deeper look into facts and statistics, it's easy to see that discrimination, while it may be present in an extremely small amount of situations, is not the main factor. Instead, it is labor participation, hours worked, and other factors that when looked at by themselves may seems small, but, in the big picture, add up to create the issue we are seeing now with pay inequality. Summary.
Who: Women in the workforce. From the low class to the one percent, women are seeing this as a problem. This issue spreads through all occupations, and it is one of the most popular issues among modern feminists and democrats. Hillary Clinton, the 2016 democratic presidential candidate, made it very clear that she believed discrimination was the only explanation behind this gap. She garnered support with such claims from women and some men from both sides of the political spectrum.
What: Women are demanding answers as to why they are payed less than men for the same job. However, the problem goes much deeper than that and has numerous factors that play into the issue, which is what most people fail to see. News agencies and entertainment companies like BuzzFeed and Huffington Post tend to push this issue into the spotlight using many social media platforms but they never focus on all of its aspects, only the fact that women are payed less. There is a lot of disapproval with these articles, as they only show the graphs and statistics that fit in with what they think.
When: People started pointing to this issue most often during the presidential elections that took place from 2016-2017. President Obama started to bring this issue up at around the same time during his campaigns with Hillary Clinton. Before election season, this issue existed, but was not as popular since here was not much research done on it, and the research that was done was hard to understand. When mainstream media was able to tap into social media like Snapchat and Instagram to give younger adults and children a report and research that was easier to read and understand, this issue became one of the most prevalent political topics. A law protecting woman against discrimination in the workplace based on gender was the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is a United States labor law amending the Fair Labor Standards Act, aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex (see Gender pay gap). It was signed into law on June 10, 1963, by John F. Kennedy as part of his New Frontier Program. This law was signed because up to that point it was in fact mostly discrimination behind women getting payed less.
Where: People are protesting and talking about this problem more in Europe because in the East, workers don't have very many rights to begin with. It is mostly free countries that promote equality among everyone. It's also mostly in the West because of technology and ease of research, along with access to technology to learn about such issues.
Why: The wage gap exists for many reasons beyond discrimination. For instance, 69.3% of men work vs. 56.8% of women. Another factor that plays into the wage gap is hours worked. Men, on average, work 8.4 hours a day compared to women, who work around 7.8 hours. It's also the social norm in marriages where the wife and husband both work for the woman to take off work to care for children. On average, full-time men spend around 0.9 hours on family care and 1.2 hours on housework, and women spend about 1.3 hours on family care and 1.9 hours on housework. Along with these statistics, some other reasons women are payed less is because they tend to be less aggressive when asking for raises, they choose to work in fields that pay less, and they choose to leave their job after having children. Is there still some discrimination? Yes, but it's not to the point where it needs to dominate the political field and have its own topic in a presidential debate. Though these numbers may seem small, they add up to create the so-called issue we are seeing now.
"Women in the workforce aren't looking for a handout. They seek equal pay for equal work. When they do better, we all do better." Creative
In conclusion, women are payed less, but it's not because of discrimination like many people think. It's instead caused by a vast number of factors that add up and only become important in the big picture. Overall, women work less than men, they work in jobs that pay less than men, and they spend more time with their children outside of work, and some argue that this is a good thing. While it looks like a simple problem, it isn't. It's going to take many more years and mush more research to pinpoint the issue and address it correctly.