Free Custom «Debunking the Myth of Gender Wage Inequality» Essay Sample
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Recently, many contentions of a pay gap between men and women in the labor market have been observed. Specifically, opponents have linked these disparities to gender bias in society. Similarly, Hillary Clinton, who is a renown sexist and politician, has advocated the implementation of the Payment Fairness Act to equalize the incomes of men and women (Lips). Predominantly, the purpose of this work is to investigate the available research and conjoin it with personal propositions to elaborate on whether gender wage gap is a legitimate concern or just another miscomprehended myth.
From the analyses presented herein, it is evident that gender wage gap is unlikely to be a potent issue that influences women in society. Instead, the difference in incomes between men and women arises from the career choices of both sexes. As such, women tend to choose careers that are less lucrative as compared to those of men. Apart from that, women work for fewer hours, have less working experience, and their work not as hard as that of their male counterparts (Schow). Quite often, men occupy the majority of executive positions at the expense of women. However, this does not justify this issue to be classified under employment bias. After all, men work harder than women do. Therefore, wage income gap is a myth since the underlying constructs of these allegations are contingent upon the unfavorable career choices that women make.
Reasons Why Genger Wage Bias Is Non-Existent
As mentioned earlier, the proposition that there exists a wage ceiling for women in society is fictitious. Arguably, the following reasons allow proving its incorrectness.
Poor Career Choices
One of the main reasons why women have low salaries is their tendency to choose professions that reward moderately. According to Thompson, women are more likely to venture into the occupations relating to healthcare and education as opposed to manufacturing and software development since the latter are male-dominated professions. Apparently, these fields are incomparable when it comes to their salaries. For the most part, jobs in education and healthcare are more straightforward as compared to those in engineering and manufacturing. Therefore, it is only reasonable for the labor industry to reward with more income those whose jobs are more sophisticated and complex. Similarly, male-dominated sectors cannot be compared economically to those where female workforce prevails. In essence, such domains as manufacturing or software engineering are capital-intensive and they bring large amounts of revenues that come from buying and selling products. Therefore, due to the availability of funds, those who work in such industries receive better compensations.
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Indeed, wage differences between men and women arise because of the difference in occupations, pursued by them. Campos-Soria et al. call this phenomenon “gender occupational segregation” (91) and researchers postulate that the aspect of men occupying higher positions is dominant not only across different industries but within them too. To ascertain their claims, Campos-Soria et al. look into the hospitality sector and present the following findings (91). Firstly, they conclude that managers predominantly assign to women duties that include cleaning, customer service, and any other work that requires less responsibility (Campos-Soria et al. 91). On the other hand, men occupy the roles in the areas of higher obligations such as the kitchen and administration. Consequently, men are paid more than women are in the hospitality industry. The above examples show that women tend to seek jobs requiring lesser responsibility, thereby receiving lower income as well.
Additionally, the income disparities between men and women can be explained upon considering the number of working hours for both groups. Specifically, Lips claims that “men work more hours than women.” The average working hours in the United States are 35 per week. However, most men exceed this number by about five more additional hours. Most likely, firms compensate them for the extra time that they spend in the office. Therefore, even though a working individual might earn an equal salary, these additional hours gives a male employee an advantage over a female one.
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In conjunction to this, women receive less income than men do because they prefer working fewer hours. According to Lam, women fail to work for more extended hours due to their marital and parental duties. As such, they have to go home early to take care of their children or to cook for their spouses. Thus, the research by Bork reveals that most women would be willing to quit their jobs to stay at home with their children because they do not trust leaving them with other people. When asked why, these women cited such reasons as poor nutrition, child abuse, lack of hygiene, and too much TV (Bork). Similarly, other women feared that their children would not be able to study or exercise properly if other people looked after them (Bork). In essence, this motivates women to work fewer hours or to quit their jobs altogether. Furthermore, the fact that men strive to be the providers for their family places women in a comfort zone, whereby their needs are catered for by their spouses.
Another probable reason why women do not occupy executive positions in organizations is that they are more likely to take career leaves, which men tend not to do. Thus, Minter claims that 70% of women fear taking breaks from work because they may lose their jobs altogether. Unfortunately, such instances are inevitable. Women have to take career breaks at least once in a lifetime to attend to family issues or because of pregnancy. Nowadays, if a woman is a top executive, her contribution to the development of her company is needed more often. Therefore, employing a woman who might take a maternity leave for three months when the organization faces a crisis may be a huge liability. However, some women can work until a few weeks to labor. Nevertheless, the productivity of such women will be compromised, especially when their job involves significant physical movement or traveling. On the other hand, men are flexible and consistent. As such, they can work for extended hours, travel long distances, or be present in the workplace for most part of the day. Therefore, the fact that men occupy the majority of executive positions in organizations is not subject to gender wage partiality. Instead, it is the issue of their suitability for such hectic roles.
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Men Are Hardworking
Men earn more because they are perceived to be hardworking. As Schow states, “women don't necessarily like competition as much as men do — they value temporal flexibility, men value income growth." Arguably, hard work attracts rewards both in the forms of income and promotions. Consequently, this is another reason why most men have higher salaries than women do. In conjunction to this, the aspect of hard work among men can be attributed to the preexisting stereotypes that depict them as the providers of the family. In most occasions, men take the task of building the house and supporting their family. Intrinsically, this places a substantial financial burden on them, which prompts them to work even harder. Therefore, men receive larger salaries not because of income biases but due to their family responsibilities, since meeting them makes them work more.
Ability to Ask for Raises
There have been speculations that men’s salaries are high because they have better negotiating skills for salary increments. According to Thompson,
Nearly a third of women -- and 29 percent of men -- have asked for raises, and even more female executives have done the same. In female-dominated sectors like health care and education more, half of women have negotiated for salary, benefits, or a promotion.
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Therefore, the fact that men know how to ask for salary increases properly is indisputable. At the same time, any worker who feels that they are under-compensated has the liberty to seek the help of labor unions or interest groups. However, this does not happen frequently to women because they understand that it is not gender but the number of working hours that is considered when the decision to raise their salary is made.
Furthermore, asserting that men know how to bargain better if compared to women invalidates the neutralizing function of education. As such, education has been recognized and it remains to be the most potent tool, through which people can achieve gender parity. Moreover, the same tutors teach both men and women by using the same methods. Thompson argues that if men are good bargainers, so are women since both have similar education. Following this, promotions and salary increments are always awarded based on merit that is not built quickly. Therefore, the issue of gender gap inequality is non-existent since there is very little evidence supporting it.
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One’s non-educational skills become a huge determinant of one’s value to a company. According to Thompson, working experience bears a significant impact on the wage income gap between men and women. Although the latter have outpaced the former in education, this does not necessarily transform into the working experience. Instead, this section scrutinizes the networking capabilities of men and women as a critical driver to gaining work experience. Research by LinkedIn conducted in 2011 reveals that men are better at professional online networking in comparison to women (Berkow). Arguably, this difference is predisposed by the intrinsic character of women.
Firstly, women tend to enclose themselves in smaller groups instead of venturing to seek professional experience elsewhere. Nagel believes that this prevents their working skills from advancing. Additionally, women fail to engage in after-work meetings because of their marital and parental duties. Again, this makes them miss a great amount of valuable knowledge. Apart from that, Nagel also notes that women tend to gossip more than they gain from a workplace relationship. On the other hand, men value their professional networks as a means to beat their competitors in the workplace. Thus, men’s income is higher than that of women because they have a better working experience.
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Concession and Refutation
Nevertheless, the opponents of gender wage inequalities have argued that the underlying constructs of gender occupational segregation stem from cultural stereotypes, perpetuated by men in society. Thus, Lam claims that the vocational decisions made by women are primarily influenced by societal traditions, an aspect that is not captured by data in the research mentioned earlier. For instance, women choose to work for shorter hours because it is improbable for a man to come home early to perform their parental duties. Similarly, there exists a miscalculated notion that permanently ties women to house chores even in the presence of their spouses. In essence, this amounts to gender bias that leads to occupational prejudice and wage disparities. Thus, opponents argue that gender bias is the root of wage inequalities between men and women.
Indeed, one cannot deny the fact that some of these claims are true. Nonetheless, they do not have to be. Society has a great variety of legal frameworks to protect the rights of women both at home and in the workplace. Moreover, women participate in numerous empowerment programs that educate them on contemporary world issues regarding partiality. Furthermore, society gives both men and women a fair chance in education so that they could be equal in this regard. When it comes to family, skeptical women reject the help of outsiders, thus burdening themselves even more (Bork). In any case, it is doubtful that women would let men stay at home, caring for their family, while they go to work earn money and support their family. Intrinsically, it appears that women themselves perpetuate the discriminating stereotypes against them. Consequently, gender bias is a thing of the past, whereas wage inequality is a myth.
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Considering above information, one can see that wage inequality itself does not exist in society. Instead, women earn less than men do because of their non-lucrative career choices. Moreover, women simply work less unlike men who also have better working experiences and who they are hardworking, which attracts higher compensation. In general, both men and women know how to ask for salary raises. Thus, this does not justify the income gap between them. Opponents argue that wage inequality is the result of gender bias that leads to occupational segregation. Nevertheless, people currently live in open and democratic society, whereby one is free to choose any career they want. Therefore, the income gaps between men and women arise due to the disparities in their intellectual capacities and working experiences. For the most part, women choose to remain underpaid by making inappropriate career-related decisions.
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