The gender pay gap has lifelong financial effects in women’s lives, and it is a direct contributor to poverty.
- 14 percent of women in the U.S are living in poverty, compared to
- 11 percent of U.S. men live in poverty.
- 60 percent of the wage gap is attributable to known factors such as work experience, race, occupation, and other factors.
A large factor is occupational choice. In the mid to late 1900s, many females were expected to go into occupations such as nurses, seamstress, education, and the like. Their male counterparts went into occupations such as doctors, lawyers, construction, and other higher paying jobs.
When you take the wages earned in an entire profession, such as health, you will inevitably see that women are paid lower, in part because nurses receive a lower salary than doctors.
But today, women are receiving college degrees and entering higher-paying fields. Some say that it will take time for the cycle to come full circle and that women will then see the same equality that men are once they are equally represented in those fields.
Another issue arises when females are expected to care for their family and children. When they are pregnant, they inevitably will take time off/ are expected to care for their child, while a male is able to continue moving up the ladder in their job, a female must pause.
Women’s attainment of higher education shrinks the gap by roughly 7 percent.
Women can make choices that will help them close the wage gap, and optimize their chances in equaling their pay. A lot boils down to economic and social reasoning, and even then, the career they choose may not give equal pay, as 40 percent of the pay gap is still unknown.
However, men don’t seem to have to plan out their life choices based on a hope for a salary. So why should women?
By Nikki Iannace