The Gender Pay Gap: The Other Side of the Coin

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The Gender Pay Gap: The Other Side of the Coin

Daniel Zuloaga Mejía, Discoverer Staff Writer

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Over the last few years, misleading statistics, about the “Gender Pay Gap,” have been popularized by celebrities, politicians, and equal rights activists. This has led society to believe that the pay gap between men and women is caused uniquely by sex. Multiple variables affect the famous gap and these are ignored by those who popularized the idea. Some of these variables are education, work hours, job experience, and occupation. The idea that women earn less than men for the same job is not only illegal, but it’s a complete lie based on the average earnings of all men and women working full time. Women do earn less than men, but it’s not because they’re women, it’s because of different life choices they make.

Occupation is probably the most influential variable which affects the gap. According to an investigation conducted by Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest job and recruiting sites, “Many college majors that lead to high-paying roles in tech and engineering are male dominated, while majors that lead to lower-paying roles in social sciences and liberal arts tend to be female dominated, placing men in higher-paying career pathways, on average.” Women are not forced to study for college majors which lead to lower paying jobs, they take decisions and those decisions have financial consequences. On average, women are graduating from high schools and colleges at much higher rates than men, so what’s truly stopping them from advancing in the financial ladder? Is it because of a systematic inequality of opportunity? Or is it simply because they choose to? Salome Beyer, founder of Girl Up Medellín, decided to address this issue, “Women choose less paying jobs because of the fact that in high ranking jobs, they are pittied against other women, they are often sexually assaulted or pressured, and constantly undermined.” Even though workplace incidents may drastically affect a woman’s drive to advance in high ranking jobs, are women truly discouraged only because of these reasons? A study conducted by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center stated that in the United States, “Between 2005 and 2009, rape/sexual assault accounted for 2.3% of all nonfatal violence in the workplace.” Claiming that women don’t pursue high paying jobs based on a fear to be sexually assaulted or pitted against is a broad, generalizing statement. Women earn less money because they choose less paying jobs and this is a crucial aspect to consider when discussing the gap, but occupation isn’t the only important variable. Work hours are also very influential, especially when companies have a decision to make when hiring people.

On average, women work less hours than men. All companies want to be as profitable as possible, and if men work more hours, then companies are more inclined to hiring men. According to the American Time Use Survey, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday, June 28, 2018, “On the days they worked, employed men worked 49 minutes more than employed women. This difference partly reflects women’s greater likelihood of working part time. However, even among full-time workers (those usually working 35 hours or more per week), men worked more per day than women—8.4 hours, compared with 7.9 hours.” Even though it doesn’t seem like a great amount, it adds up. Millions of female workers equates to millions of hours lost. Another aspect that can’t be ignored are pregnancies. Maternity leave and Statutory Maternity Pay are something men never go through. “I’m sure companies look at women and men with the perception of a woman being pregnant, where they might miss time. Do I think that’s right? No, I don’t, but I think that’s the view of a lot of companies in this world,” Brian Summers, 10th grade Economics & Entrepreneurship teacher, said. I’m not demonizing women who put family over work, but the gap isn’t going to shorten if employers don’t see a change in women’s drive to work and go further of what’s expected.

Think about it, If women were paid less than men for the same job, then all companies would hire only women. According to Lisa McQuerrey, business writer, most companies spend about 20-30% of their income on payroll and human resources. We live in a free market capitalist economy, in which penny-pinching businessmen wouldn’t hesitate to cut their expenses and save staggering amounts of money by hiring only women.

Telling young women that no matter how hard they work they’re always going to be discriminated against is truly evil. We should encourage young women to become more involved in STEM fields and careers that lead to higher paying jobs. This is one of the only ways to truly minimize the gap, but why should we? In a society where there’s equality of opportunity, people have the freedom to choose what they want and that can’t be regulated so there will always be a gap.