Student Op-Eds

Time to Wake Up America: Close the Gender Pay Gap

Annette Aguilera-Gonzalez ’18 – Women in Leadership Participant


The gender pay gap has lifelong financial effects. A study by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) found that the pay gap “contributes directly to women’s poverty. In 2015, 14 percent of American women ages 18–64 were living below the federal poverty level, compared with 11 percent of men were living in poverty” (Proctor et al., 2016). The effects of this disparity in pay follow women even after they leave the workforce. Even when women retire, they receive less income from social security, pensions, and other benefits than their male counterparts (Fischer & Hayes, 2013).  This inequality occurs because the amount above mentioned benefits are based on how much they were paid.

The impact of the pay gap has intensified in recent years because women, more now than ever, are their families’ primary or sole breadwinners (Glynn, 2014). The children and men that depend on women are also affected as a result of the pay gap.  Unfortunately, the gender gap affects all women in every demographic. Even though the gender pay gap will never be completely dissolved because we live in a patriarchal society, the country is making significant strides.

The one thing that we must avoid is indifference.  This is an extremely important time for women to be socially active—as the women’s movement prepares for one of its most challenging chapters in history.  Especially with Trump’s nominee to head the Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, who is unsure of her commitment to commit to upholding the Obama administration’s Title IX guidance, which requires colleges and universities to be more responsible for cracking down on sexual assaults. The menace most of us women feel today is palpable, but let us link arms and continue this fight for equality.



The views and opinions expressed are the students and the organizations whom they represent and do not necessarily represent the views of The Eisenhower Institute or Gettysburg College.