In 1890, the Independent Female Worker Era began. This time period marks the beginning of women joining the workforce. While this was revolutionary to the opportunities that females had, only young and single women actually ended up working. However, jobs that these women worked were typically very nominal in comparison to the positions that men held.
As time progressed, more women began working, however it was nowhere near an equilibrium. To companies, women were not seen as a necessity and most companies believed that the place for women was in the house. Most people assume that boys and girls are equal. They assume that there cannot possibly be any huge gender discrepancies. But the reality is there are many setbacks that women face on a daily basis that reinforces gender inequities and limit their ability to compete on an equal basis to their male counterparts. One of those discrepancies is the gender wage gap.
The gender pay gap is defined as the difference between the amount of money paid to women and men, often for doing the same work. “The gender pay gap is the result of many factors, including occupational segregation, bias against working mothers, and direct pay discrimination. Additionally, such things as racial bias, disability, access to education, and age come into play. Consequently, different groups of women experience very different gaps in pay.” (AAUW) For example, currently Asian women earn around 85% of the salary of an Asian man, placing them at the lowest discrepancy. On the other hand, Hispanic women only earn 53% of the salary of Hispanic men, evidently placing them at a very high discrepancy. While many things usually correct and get better with time, this has not been the case with the gender pay gap. For example, in 1960, women earned 61 cents for every 1 dollar that a man made. At this time, the women were in full knowledge that they should earn equal wages to men, and therefore began to fight this gap. As a result of these efforts to close this gap, on June 10 of 1963 the Equal Pay Act was passed as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act. The act “prohibits discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers." In 2018, the gap has narrowed as women generally earn 80 cents for every dollar that a man makes. However, the progress has largely plateaued as it has women have been stuck around this value for nearly 15 years. While the Equal Pay Act of 1960 has had many positive outcomes, it has not worked to fully correct the gender pay gap that is still very prominent in our society today.
As proved by many events and movements in history, by speaking out against injustices that we notice, change is bound to happen. It is essential that we keep fighting the gender pay gap so that women earn what they truly deserve. The Government Equalities Office in the United Kingdom Government conducted a study on the gender pay gap and have tested multiple ways to improve the gender pay gap.
First off, the Government Equalities Office discusses in their test that there needs to be more forms of accessible job recruitment for women. For example, in lists of qualified people for jobs, there must be a substantial number of women who could be considered for a job. Additionally, the use of structured interviews in which all prospective employees, both men and women, are asked the same exact questions. By asking both genders the same questions, it ensures that the interviews are conducted on a much more comparable measure which makes the hiring process much more equal.
The Government Equalities Office additionally places a big emphasis on salary negotiation. As multiple studies have concluded, women are much less likely to negotiate their salary in comparison to men. Multiple reasons for this include being afraid, being considered pushy, and feeling like they are stepping out of line. To solve this issue, the GEO recommends that employers make the salary range known pre employment so that women are more comfortable in asking for a salary change. Additionally, by doing this, a woman knows what a reasonable raise asking price would be, ultimately making them much more likely to negotiate their salary.
As proven by this study, there are numerous ways that the pay gap can be closed but the main way to do so is to encourage more and more women to join the workforce. As more women begin working, it becomes a normalized thing. It is clear that while as a whole society has progressed a lot since the 1890s, there is still a long way to go. By working as a society to close the gender pay gap, change will be made and women will earn equally to their male counterparts.