Nikki Graf, Anna Brown, and Eileen Patten stealthily and expertly report on the gap of income between men and women in an article titled, “The Narrowing, but Persistent, Gender Gap in Pay.” Melanie Miller, associated with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, acknowledges this matter: “Workplace gender equality is achieved when people are able to access and enjoy the same rewards, resources and opportunities regardless of gender.” I will be discussing income inequality, family life while working, and the gender roles in the workplace.
Many have encountered income inequality over the years; the difference in income for men versus women is an issue still present in society today. On December 4, 2013, Barack Obama addressed this issue. He claimed everyone faces income inequality at some point. A month after Mr. Obama’s speech, Gallup took a poll to see the percentage of satisfied and dissatisfied Americans regarding unequal income distribution. Of all the Americans who answered the poll, only seven percent were satisfied with the income distribution. Those numbers should definitely be lower. Most are unaware that in 2017 women earned 89 cents to every dollar their male counterpart earned.
Some have pondered how a career and a family are possible to achieve at the same time. According to an article by Kim Parker, women more than men adjust their career for family life. In that same article, a 2012 Pew Research survey was referenced; Americans spoke, 79% believed that women should not return to work after having a child. It was socially unacceptable to return to working full time after giving birth. Society has evolved to accept that it’s a necessity for mothers to work to be able to provide for their children and to play a role in society again. Fathers were set to different standards, 70% of poll voters said that fathers should continue to work and not take paternity leave. The consensus was, mothers had to leave their jobs but fathers could continue to work. Ms. Graf and her associates created a graph that showed the difference between men and women of all ages, and their choices with regard to work when having children of any age. The topics for this graph were: reduced work hours, took a large amount of time off, quit their job, and turned down promotions. In all the categories, women had the highest percentage.
Women’s gender role in the workforce has changed to an increase in the need to be more responsible and to participate. Comparing men to women, more women are receiving an education than men. As established in Ms. Graf’s article, the wage gap for men and women is slowly closing as younger generations enter the workforce. Going from 33 cents difference, in 2016, to an 11 cent difference, in 2017, cements that we are improving at an astounding rate. Some companies still pay men more than women for doing the same job. Both genders can have the same education and experience, yet the male gets a higher wage payment compared to the female.
In treating employees unequally, the company is missing the opportunity to utilize their best resource, the employees. Income inequality, balancing family life and work, and the roles of different genders in the workplace are all hurdles that our society still needs to overcome.