Politicians, social scientist, gender specialists and feminist have been discussing and debating about gender pay inequity for decades. However the bottom line remains is unchanged, men still earn more than woman.
According to an article written by Claudia Goldin entitled “Change the Gender Pay Gap, Change the Way We Work”, published in Bloomberg News, as of 2010 earnings of median full-time full year female workers stood at 77% of the median of male workers. “For recent college grads it’s even lower”. Further, the pay gap increases with age. Women’s earnings start off at par but decrease over decades. There are several reasons for this. First there is what I call the “occupation factor”. Science and technology jobs usually pay more. However, most women don’t pursue science and technology degrees. As a result, their pay remains lower than their male counterparts. Golding doesn’t agree with this. She argues that “pay inequity is “concentrated within professions”. That is women don’t earn less because of the professions that they choose, but earn less within their chosen professions for various other reasons. She is correct in articulating that women do eventually earn less in their chosen profession, however it is a fact that there is a correlation between the profession you choose and the amount of money you earn; a person with a Master’s Degree in Social Work, will earn less than a person with Master’s in computer engineering or economics. Second, women usually take time off for having children and tending to other family matters As a result, women who work in occupations that emphasize working long hours and “face-to-face contact usually miss out on pay increases or advancement because they are not visible. You know the saying “out of sight, out of mind”. It is also perceived that their absence corresponds to less experience.
The pay equity issue is not a battle of the sexes but a step toward empowering families. Women have been bearing children and tending to their families since the beginning of time, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. However, fulfilling familial and parental obligations shouldn’t serve as a penalty for equal pay. What’s the solution? Encourage young girls, at a very early age, to pursue science and technology. These are the jobs that pay well. Encourage education in general. A college graduate usually has more options than a non-college graduate and earns more money.
Women need to demand and negotiate. Women, especially immigrant women, have the tendency, to take what is given to them. If money is not negotiable, negotiate time and other perks that will keep you in the loop. Men get better wages and perks because they demand it. Seek out companies are flexible via time and work location, but realize that is a certain level of “being present” that accompanies this flexibility. Remember “out of sight, out of mind! Last as a society, we must shift our thinking and help girls do the same. We must rewire our mental conditioning and theirs and deeply instill the values of self-worth and education. We must teach them that they have a voice, a very strong voice, and that they too can demand what they want.