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Wage Gap Differences Between Men and Women

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    Gender based inequality are where individuals are not treated equally in society due to race, class, and gender. Furthermore, society has constructed specific norms that deter many individuals who do not have many opportunities. One particular gender based inequality is the wage gap between men and women. This issue in the wage gap between men and women has significant difference in men receiving much more money than women. Mainly, the wage gap between men and women should be more equal and be based on skills and techniques rather than appearance or gender.

    Gender in the wage gap has played a significant impact in the roles of men and women. For example, Lorber writes, “In the social construction of gender, it does not matter what men and women actually do; does it even matter if they do exactly the same thing. The social institution of gender insists only that what they do is perceived as different” (p. 279). This supports that no matter what skills an individual posses gender roles will play a vital role on whether the individual will benefit or not. In the workplace, sex segregated jobs play a significant impact on the wage gap between men and women. For example, men who work in a woman’s based career undergo the glass escalator effect, which determines whether they move up to higher positions within these fields (Wingfield, 2009). Additionally, men either move up or down in a woman’s based career due to the aspects of interactions, norms, and expectations. In turn, Acker highlights, “The structure of the labor market , relations in the workplace, the control of the work process, and the underlying wage relation are always affected by symbols of gender, processes of gender identity, and material inequalities between men and women” (p. 145-146). Ultimately, women are seen to be filled in lower class careers and men are seen to be predominantly in higher ranking careers that have the authority in power and control. Lastly, the wage gap significantly affects individuals based on the norms society has constructed between male and female roles (Acker, 1990).

    In depth, the wage gap is separate and not equal in many professional and ordinary jobs. First, gender segregation plays a significant role between males and females in the workplace due to the roles they are expected to fulfill. This reflects restrictions within occupations that range from the lack of meeting certain requirements in background, gender, and class. Second, earnings have a big difference within occupational segregation. For example, Hegewicsh, Liepmann, Hayes, and Hartmann state from IWR “In 2009, the median weekly earnings of full-time, female workers were 80.2 percent of what full-time male workers earned. Full-time employed women on average earned less than their male counterparts in 104 of 108 occupations for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides earnings data for both male and female workers” (p. 2). This implies that the gender wage gap is a worldwide issue in the work force. Furthermore, this occurs whenever women work and earn less money in their careers even it it is female-dominated. Men also are typically the ones who earn much more money even in female-dominated occupations. In turn, women may receive higher wages only if they are willing to train and work in occupations with upper class male workers (Hegewisch et al., 2010). Additionally, the labor markets are gendered segregated by functioning horizontally and vertically. Labor markets categorize women in the lower levels of hierarchy such as status, authority, and wages. For example, men in nursing are categorized to be the minority group of the profession, but however the management is dominated by men (Cross and Bagilhole, 2000). In contrast, black male nurses undergo a different experience between race and gender due to mechanism that provide white males to move up more easily in a woman dominated occupation. Poor relationships with peers or the lack of connecting with others gives off the idea in not being fit for nursing. Mostly, discrimination of gender-based wages are not acknowledged especially in women’s work (Steinberg and Figart, 1999). Overall, society is based on gender, race, and ethnicity, which categorizes people in may different ways by the amount of opportunities, privileges, and security (Lorber, 1994).

    Occupational segregation and the gender wage gap are linked together due to the amount of differences that men and women undergo in the workplace. The connection between occupational segregation and differences in the amount of earnings and the relationship percentage between female workers in three general group : low skilled, medium skilled, and high skilled occupations. Low-skilled occupations are short-term jobs that require basic work skills, medium-skilled occupations require specific based skills, but less than a Bachelor’s degree and high skilled occupations require professional skills that have at least a Bachelor’s degree of a higher form of education such as a PhD degree. In addition, in the lower-skilled category such as childcare workers, less than 50 percent of childcare workers do not have a further education than a high school diploma. Next, in the medium skilled category, few occupations are reclassified as high-skilled where more than 50 percent of individuals obtained a Bachelor’s degree such as registered nurses. Overall, from these general skill groupings, there is an unequal distribution in power, experience, and money due to how men and women are seen within the workplace and the careers they part take in (Hegewisch et al., 2010).

    In a study conducted on the link between occupational segregation and the gender wage gap, researchers examined the differences on median earnings of low-skilled, medium-skilled, and high-skilled occupations. First, low-skilled occupations hire about 16 million full-time associates that consist of 17.6 percent of men and 14.7 percent of women. In comparison to other skilled groups, mostly a big group of 38.9 percent of low-skilled workers in a male dominated career consisting of truck drivers, sales workers, and material moving. Next, in female dominated low-skilled occupations consisting of careers in nursing aids, psychiatric, maids, and housekeepers average up to 19.7 percent of workers. Medium-skilled careers consisting of more than 53 million full-time workers among 51.1 percent of men and 51.2 percent of women. In a medium-skilled occupation for men, a third of men are employed such as electricians and carpenters. Furthermore, a medium-skilled occupation for women, about a fifth of women are employed, as secretaries and administrative assistants. Finally, in high-skilled occupations there are over 30 million employed workers. This level of skill has a great amount of mixed occupations between men and women. Men in power positions such as chief executives account for 20.5 percent high skilled-workers, where as women account for 20.2 percent. Ultimately, men and women have significant differences and skills within the job market (Hegewisch et al., 2010).

    In the average earnings between men and women, there is a significant disproportional balance. There is a negative relationship between women and the amount of money they earn in either low, medium, or high-skilled jobs barriers at each level. Mostly, women are negatively impacted on their wage earnings from higher-skilled jobs than low and medium-skilled jobs. This is due to the amount of power and authority that usually belong to men in higher ranking positions. For example, Hegewisch et al. highlights, “The statistical relationship between earnings and gender composition identified by our model that a high-skilled occupation that is 0 percent female would pay $1,555 per week while one that is 100 percent female would pay only $840 per week or 46 percent less” (p. 10). This supports that women earn much less money regardless what job level they are and do not receive fair treatment due to how they are viewed in a socially constructed society. In turn, from the negative relationship between money earnings and women, low wage jobs even include low wages as well. The average earnings in a low-skilled female dominated occupations are typically $408 per week, where as low-skilled male dominated occupations are $553 per week. Next, in medium-skilled male dominated occupations earn an average of $752 weekly, while female dominated occupation earn an average of $600 weekly. Finally, for high skilled occupations men are usually the ones in charge and have the highest rank position earning up to $1,916, as where women play a subordinate role earning up $759 to $1,153 (Hegewisch et al., 2010).

    In today’s society, men and women have a significant wage gap between one another. Implementation in having an equal wage gap between men and women needs to be into effect. Furthermore, there are many ways to change this issue. One solution to resolve this issue of the wage gap is give better advice to girls and women when they pursue a career, so they will be able to have a voice and to make reasonable choices. Second, creating a great amount of programs that emphasize training and employment skills in order to reduce barriers for women. Next, employers and training providers should take on the responsibility in trying to recruit and retain more women who meet or are above expectations. In addition, mothers who are in the lower class need to be motivated in pursing an education and learning critical skills that will help them succeed. Also, there needs to be more support towards women until they are able to provide for themselves and have a stable career. Ultimately, equal pay and equal employment opportunity laws need to be changed so that women are payed equally and are not overlooked or discriminated during the hiring process of a career. In all, women should not be stereotyped or labeled in a particular way because they can achieve the same abilities and skills men possess (Hegewisch et al., 2010).

    Gender inequality is heavily enforced within the job market. Men and women have a significant range difference in earnings even though they are in the same occupation. Societal expectations between men and women either benefit them or not in the job market due to the requirements and skills of various job occupations. Regardless, the wage gap heavily impacts women more than men because men are seen to be the dominant figure, while women are the ones who stay in the background and help those in charge. All in all, there is a significant wage gap difference between men and women that needs to be addressed in implementing fair pay for every job position.


    1. Acker, J. (1990). Hierarchies, Jobs, Bodies: A Theory of Gendered Organizations. Gender and Society, 4(2), 139-158. Retrieved from
    2. Cross, S. and Bagilhole, B. (2000) ‘Girls’ Jobs for the Boys? Men, Masculinity and Non- traditional Occupations’ , Gender Work and Organization 9(2): 204-226.
    3. Hegewisch, A., Liepmann, H., Hayes, J., & Hartmann, H. (2010). Separate and Not Equal? Gender Segregation in the Labor Market and the Gender Wage Gap.
    4. Institute for Women’s Policy Research. 2010a. The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation. Washington, DC: IWPR Fact Sheet. <>
    5. Lorber, Judith (1994). The Social Construction of Gender. Grusky, D. B., & Szelényi, S. The inequality reader: Contemporary and foundational readings in race, class, and gender (pp. 276-283). Boulder, Colo: Westview Press.
    6. Steinberg, R., & Figart, D. (1999). Emotional Labor Since The Managed Heart. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 561, 8-26. Retrieved from
    7. Wingfield, A. H. (2009). Racializing the Glass Escalator: Reconsidering Men’s Experiences with Women’s Work. Gender & Society, 23(1), 5–26.

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