Gender wage Essay

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TO: The president of United States.                        Members of congress

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SUBJECT: what should be done to reduce wage inequality.

Despite concerted efforts by the policy makers to root out wage inequality on gender. women still experience wage discrimination at the work place. This memorandum is aimed at providing practical solution that if implemented into policy could go a long way into further reducing gender based wage discrimination. This memo is written because the gender pay gap persists to this day in spite of the reducing education level disparities among men and women. The facts are that women earn 25% less than men soon after they both leave college and are at their first five years of employment. The wage gap in the US increases with time and by the time they are at the 45-50 age group, the difference in earnings is almost 40%[1], this kind of wage disparity denies women significant opportunities to advance their careers as well as better their lives in every possible way, family status, nature of work and the role of unions have helped in reducing this gap but all this effort need to be supported by each one of us.

Some of the factors that contribute to this discrepancy in average pay include:

                        i.            Nature of work done by men and women. This includes the career choices that women and men make that more often than not tend to put women in occupations and profession that are basically lower salary sectors.

                      ii.            Biological roles. The biological factor whereby women have to perform an extra role (that of child bearing as well as child-rearing). This tends to have an effect on their professional life and positions them at a disadvantage relative to men. This is because it casts women as less committed to their work and their careers. This is not true and ways to get rid of this misconception ought to be developed.

                    iii.            Representation in the labor market. Women also have a lower representation in the labor market than men. Again the fact that men have broader options when it comes to careers and occupation choice also affect representation. In the past some occupations were solely male dominated. Men can take even those jobs that are considered dangerous and unsuitable for women. Though this trend is changing the difference made is still significant.

                    iv.            Segregation especially in low-skilled employment. Women are more segregated especially in low- skilled jobs. This is considered as social norm and thus the status quo is maintained

                      v.            Education level. Due to the opportunities available in education traditionally, women attain generally lower education levels and this affects representation in the job market. The ratio of educated men to women is higher. This coupled by the discrimination at the workplace ensures that women have less income and opportunities to better themselves and when they don’t, their position of weakness is reinforced.

Although the information released by the US census bureau revealed that the gender pay gap is narrower now than ever before[2], the reality is that this is due to the decrease in earnings for both men and women and a more marked decrease in men average pay than that of women. This is not exactly worth celebrating and serves to amplify the need to come up with more sustainable solutions. This organization suggests the following measures.

1.         Promoting proactive legislation. Each of you has a role in promoting the ideals of pay equity in your spheres of influence. This includes utilizing your positions and adapting to the role of equity ambassadors to assist in the education as well as creating awareness among decision/policy makers. This will in turn arouse interest in the relevant circles of policy makers, scholars, leaders and public so that this important issue will be illuminated. When this point is reached, it will be relatively easier to develop and implement legislation that will promote pay equity. Some of this proactive legislation would include an accommodative child care solutions like tax rebate where parents receive a tax waiver due to their inability to put in as many hours as the rest of their working colleagues. This will go along way in ensuring equity. The other change proposed included in the legislation is a fully paid maternity leave with opportunities to work flexible part time hours for those mothers on maternity leave.

   2.      Step up the anti discrimination enforcement. This strategy worked marvelously in the 1980s and it can work now. It is laxity that seems to have negated on the gains that resulted from the campaigns in the 80s. It is time that the federal government stepped up its effort to ensure that discriminatory practices at the workplace are eliminated. This will allow women opportunities to better themselves and reduce pay disparities.

3.         Reasonable minimum wage. The government needs to be on the frontline in developing a broader approach to the process of minimum wage determination. This is because research has shown that other factors such as work environment and salary structures contribute heavily to the decline in gender wage disparity. Therefore a holistic approach encompassing segregation based on sector, occupation and job training ought to be embraced in the wage determination process. This will also help in the mainstreaming of gender issues at the work place. It is our belief that such a measure will go along way in creating a level playing field that would ensure that women are not lagging behind in terms of wages. Guidelines in regard to pay structures will also highlight on the method used in pay determination in order to better compensate productivity.

4.         Collective bargaining.  Due to their less aggressive nature women have not been equally forceful when it comes to the utilization of tools of collective bargaining e.g. unions.  The government can get involved in promoting unions and expanding their mandate especially when it comes to gender related issues at the workplace.  Legislation can be put in place to encourage more and more women to come out and be heard on matters pertaining to work environment and work policies and practices.  If women become more confident that their pleas will be heard, they are more likely to come out and bring their issues into the light.  This will facilitate transparency especially in those work characteristics that seem to reflect occupational discrimination.

            The federal and the local governments need to be on the forefront of ensuring that gender wage gap becomes a thing of the past. This will only be realized if you-Ladies and Gentlemen as leaders take proactive roles in this matter.

Endnotes

[1] DeNavas-Walt, Carmen, Bernadette D. Proctor, and Cheryl Hill Lee (2005), U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-229, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC. Available online at http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p60-229.pdf. Accessed on 7.Feb.2007
[2] Statistics and indicators on women and men: Table 5g Women’s wages relative to men’s United Nations Statistics Division, 22 April 2005. Accessed on 7.Feb.2007

 

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