That Gender Pay Gap – a little myth and then some

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The Gender Pay gap has been an important topic in the fight for gender equality which is highly discussed and criticized by feminists, activists and politicians alike. The Gender Pay gap refers to the belief that women get paid less than men – 77 cents for every one dollar a male earns is the common statistic being used, though varies study to study. On April 12th 2016, known as ‘Equal Pay Day’, a day created with the understanding that women would have to work this far in the year to have earned the same amount as their male counterpart in the previous year (Diblasio 2016), Hillary Clinton talked about her dedication and fight for women rights by mentioning the current struggle for equal pay and, the determination and initiative needed by bringing women together to fight for this injustice (The Washington Times 2016), but research finds that this chant of ‘inequality in the pay gap’ is misleading. With all this talk about how there is a ‘pay gap’ on public media and the repetitiveness of it there is no acknowledgement of the counter arguments which refute it.

A couple failings of the gender pay gap are: when regarding the average weekly rate earned for men and women is does not count specific ‘like-for-like’ roles, as to say positions that are in the same workplace, doing the same job that are meant to be comparable. The statistic is the collective overall earnings throughout an entire sector of a type/area of a job – counting people from the top to the people at the bottom (Workplace Gender Equality Statistics 2016).

The Pay Gap in is fact an Earnings Gap which is the collective hours earned over a long period of time, but this has nothing to do with sexual discrimination but has to do with lifestyle. It is found that the male lifestyle is to work longer hours, meaning more hours spent in the office putting in effort for the job at hand and earning more (Duke 2014). A  2015 U.S. Bureau of Statistics report found among full-time employees – men work a longer working week then women – 8.2 hours compared to 7.8 hours. While gender roles are being challenged day to day by activists, politicians and celebrities there are still gender roles that will continually reside. Men are still brought up to be providers for the family with the characteristics and societal expectations of prioritizing work over family, being powerful, being successful and being competitive (Jaramillo-Sierra & Allen 2013).

The competitive side of men makes way for negotiation of salaries when getting into a new job. Contributed to a characteristic in men, a large part of firm style jobs such as Lawyers and Printing is that women do not have the tendency to negotiate a higher wage. Women are generally happy with what was offered to them compared to their male counterpart who would negotiate for a higher amount (Dawson 2014).

The lifestyle of women is also seen to have an effect on how much they get paid over the duration of their working career compared to their male counterpart. Women are known to like a more balanced lifestyle – meaning social, family and work aspects of their life are evenly participated in, when one aspect has been lacking or changed there was a need to satisfy the area missing out (Seierstad & Kirton 2015). This balance of lifestyle changes the dedication women would have to work, their commitment declines – they stay back less at the office and they take longer and more holidays compared to men.

Sources:

Dawson, T 2014, ‘Collective Bargaining and the Gender Pay Gap in the Printing Industry’, Gender, Work & Organization, vol. 21, no. 5, pp 381 – 394

Diblasio, N 2016, ”Happy Equal Pay Day,’ said no women ever’, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2016/04/12/equal-pay-day-inequality-women-gender/82913078/

Duke, S 2014, ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work means paying men more’, New American, vol. 20, issue 10, pp 25 – 29

Jaramillo-Sierra, A.L. & Allen, K.R. 2013, ‘Who pays for the first date? Young Men’s Discourses of the Male-Provider Role’, Psychology of Men and Masculinity, vol. 14, no. 4, pp 389 – 399

Seierstad, C & Kirton, G 2015, ‘Having it all? Women in High Commitment Careers and Life-Balance in Norway’, Gender, Work & Organization, vol. 22, no. 4, pp 390 – 404

The Washington Times 2016, ‘Hillary’s Gender Pay-Gap Fallacy’, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/apr/18/editorial-hillary-clintons-gender-wage-gap-fallacy/

Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2016, Gender Pay Gap Statistics, https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/Gender_Pay_Gap_Factsheet.pdf

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