Why Women Still Face Wage Discrimination Amid Talent And Skills?

In the United States, women make 78 cents for every dollar that men make. Despite people saying that this is a myth and the statistics have changed, the discrimination is real. There is a gender pay gap among full time workers in major countries like USA, UK, Australia and Japan. 

Women are almost half of the world’s population and are entering the workforce at a rapid rate, but the pay gap doesn’t seem to reduce. So, the question is why? There are many theories as to why women are still underpaid for jobs they are equally qualified for, some of which are:

  • There are many women who are employed in occupations that pay very low. Such low pay scale jobs include food prepping, waiting tables, dishwashing, cashiering and hosting. In most of these occupations you will find more women employed than men.
  • Women give more importance to the non-pecuniary characteristics of a job, while men focus on the monetary benefits. Men and women are wired differently, and have a different outlook towards life. You will find more women taking the role of a nurse, teacher and cleaner as they would rather do jobs that require less physical exertion. More women work part time as they also have to focus on raising their family. 
  • A survey done in the U.S. in 2013 revealed that women took more career breaks than men to take care of their family. Some left the job market altogether to take care of their responsibilities. These types of disturbances in a woman’s career affect her long term earnings.
  • Even though women are increasing their representation in male dominated positions, they are continuously being over-represented in low paying jobs which are contributing to the wage discrimination. In the same survey it was revealed that 18 percent of women had faced gender discrimination. An analysis done by the New York Times, found that the CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer was paid less than the COO, who was a male. 
  • In the work place many men constantly ask for raises although women don’t demand the same that often. Why? It is because when women raise a voice against injustice, their voice often goes unnoticed or is deliberately ignored. Instead of recognizing their achievements, leaders of the organization (read men) label them as incompetent employees.     

In recent times, many women have been appointed for leadership roles, which signify that the end of wage discrimination is near. Let’s take sports as an example. In Los Angeles, in 2016, the members of the women’s national soccer team filed a wage discrimination case against their employer. Their attorney presented documents that showed that male sport players earn $1000 to $1700 more than female players. Although, the women’s team generated a profit of nearly $ 168 million in 2015, the disparity still existed. This case not only raised a hue and cry in the soccer world, but motivated women in other fields to stand up against inequalities.

The World Economic Forum released data in 2015 stating that it will take almost 118 years for the global pay discrimination to end. Let’s be honest, that is a lot of time. There should be an instant solution to the disparity women are victim to.

An implementation of a transparent pay structure can help women be more aware of how much their male co-workers are earning. Although, this suggestion is a little complicated and may cause disturbance and privacy issues, there is a bright side to it. It can work as an incentive for women to be more productive, if goals are transparent and clear. SumAll is a marketing analysis company in New York that releases an online document with the salary history of all their employees to promote transparency and equality.

A study has shown that men are better negotiators than women. Women readily accept the initial offer given to them by the prospective employer whereas men make aggressive negotiations. Another solution to wage discrimination can be to eliminate negotiations altogether by fixing pay scales. 

It is true that wage discrimination exists, but it is also true that as women are taking on leadership roles in the corporate world the disparity is ending.