The Gender Wage Gap is Real

In 2020, it is still possible for a woman to be paid less than a man in the same field, but it’s not as simple as you might think.

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Even in 2020, the gender wage gap exists and is a relevant issue.

As someone who believes that men and women should be equal, I am able to recognize how far the fight for women’s rights has come. In the last hundred years, women have been granted the right to vote, legislation has been passed to prevent discrimination, and now a record number of women are serving as Congresswomen and Senators.

Despite those who say feminism and fighting for the basic rights of women are no longer necessary, a lot more needs to be done. This is especially true when it comes to men and women in the same field being paid equally and given equal opportunities within their field. 

A significant number of people still believe that the gender wage gap is not real. According to a survey of over 8,000 Americans by SurveyMonkey, 46% of men and 30% of women think that the equal pay issue was made up for political purposes and it is not a legitimate problem.

Despite those who say feminism and fighting for the basic rights of women are no longer necessary, a lot more needs to be done.”

Through various media sources labeling this gap as “fake news,” an environment of ignorance is created in spite of clear evidence. Women in the United States are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men. 

Depending on the source used, no matter how reliable, this number may change slightly. It also does not take the man’s or woman’s field of work or race into account. This is why many people argue against the wage gap being real. 

This is a misconception because a large number of popular fields in the United States see enormous gaps between men and women within that field. 

Legal, sales, and varying technical occupations see the largest gaps between the wages of men versus women. In 2018, the average woman that held a legal occupation was making only a little over half the amount (45.3%) of money made by the average man who held a legal occupation. Sales and technical occupations both had a 33.3% wage gap in 2018.

Other prominent occupations with large wage gaps include transportation (28.6%), management (24.2), and farming, fishing, and forestry (27.5%).

Some may also argue that women are paid less than men when education is taken into account. According to the Economic Policy Institute, this is untrue. Women earn less than men at every education level.

What many people fail to grasp, no matter where they fall on the political spectrum, is that the wage gap is not entirely based on blatant discrimination and bad decisions made by policymakers. 

In fact, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law in order to try and abolish wage disparity based on gender. The law makes it illegal to purposefully discriminate against women regarding their wage for doing the same job as a man. 

If evidence was found that an employer was paying women less than men with the same experience and seniority for the same job, this would be a clear violation of the Equal Pay Act. 

What we do in regards to the gender wage gap will determine how willing we are to make positive changes and take steps towards gender equality in our society. ”

The wage gap that is truly being fought against now, in 2020, is one that has been caused by societal pressures on women to be the primary caretaker of their child.  It’s a gap in opportunity that ultimately results in a gap in wages.

Because of these societal pressures, women go home to take care of their children while men in the same field are able to work their way up. They are granted more opportunities because their schedules do not need to be as flexible.

Although this is largely due to pressures that have been apparent throughout history, there are ways to reduce this occurrence. Policies that other developing/developed countries have implemented include protecting workers by making it more difficult for employers to retaliate for discussing wages, allowing employees to see employer data, and creating incentives for both men and women to take leave in order to take care of their children. 

In 2020, we should no longer have to deal with this issue. What we do in regards to the gender wage gap will determine how willing we are to make positive changes and take steps towards gender equality in our society.