Closing the Gender Wage Gap

Claire Quinn ’18 – Inside Politics Participant

The day has finally come. Equal Pay Day is now a national holiday in the United States. For American women it just another day in the nearly two hundred and fifty year fight for equality of the sexes. While women may have gained the right to vote by the 19th Amendment and are seen as full citizens under the law, they are not realistically treated as such. According to the American Association of University Women, Women with Advanced degrees still make just 74% of the wages as men with similar qualifications (Sawhill 2016). This trend is common at every level of education and amongst different racial minorities. Since the founding of this country, white males have held economic dominance in the workplace and in the market economy. Not only do women earn 74% less than men but, “the average American woman still earns $10,000 less than the average male each year, or almost half a million dollars less over the course of their careers. That also translates into lower Social Security and pension benefits and greater retirement insecurity” (Duckworth et al 2016). When women receive unequal pay compared to their male counterparts, they loose extra money that could be going to their families. They also risk becoming a disenfranchised group of workers as they have less value than the opposite sex. Unequal pay prevents women from achieving their full market potential in America.

In order to mend the gender pay gap, there must be solidified legislative goals that help to further the equality of the sexes by supporting women within the workplace. According to Isabel Sawhill, Senior Economics Fellow at the Brookings institute, “if we want to eliminate the pay gap… the primary focus must be on women’s continuing difficulties in balancing work and family life… But the biggest source of the problem is not employer discrimination; it is women’s continued double burden” (Sawhill 2016). The gendered pay gap is an issue that is rooted in the sexist foundations of America, and has continued to cause other issues in this nation that need to be solved by legislative policies.