The idea of gender wage discrimination being widely practiced in the United States today is a difficult concept for many to swallow. With the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the realization of the existence of the gender wage gap surprises many Americans. These authors bring to the forefront the idea that there is more to the gender wage gap then just companies discriminating against women and minorities.
They sight many sources with defined data including Burres and Zucca who looked at database information from 1992 through 1997 and confirmed that just over 3% of women held a position in the top 5 spots in most companies. Furthermore, the pay for executives showed women’s salaries were considerably lower than those of their male counterparts (Kennedy, Nagata, Mushenski, &Johnson, 2008, p. 13-14). This fact alone directly affects the productivity of the workplace, causing resentment and discontent with female employees.
Add to the issue those women with disabilities and the percentages of discrimination raise a staggering fifty percent. The authors also showed evidence of wage discrimination against African Americans, adding to the argument that female African Americans are fighting an even tougher battle then white women (Kennedy et al. , 2009, p. 14). The authors provide arguments as to why these wage differences still exist, sighting Hartmann, Gault, Lovell, Sinzdak, & Caiazza (2003) who claim the most prevalent reason is fewer hours worked.
Women have other responsibilities with family and home that pull them away from work, which in turn gives them less experience and training, justifying a lower salary. Even in the last 40+ years women have been working their way into male dominated positions, yet their wage is still 23. 5% lower than their male co-worker (Kennedy et al. , 2008, p. 15). Another argument is that of social and professional networking playing a part in the wage differences. Most evidence leans toward the concept that networking is beneficial in securing higher paying positions.
It also showed that white men were more apt to promote other white men than women or other minorities. Yet, women with powerful social or professional connections were also able to secure higher paying positions. Other minorities seemed to have lower socioeconomic status and thus had difficulty in obtaining higher paying positions (Kennedy et al. , 2008, p. 15-16). The authors also touch on the idea that women are less apt to boast about their accomplishments, or pat themselves on the back, effectively letting their superiors know about positive situations, or client successes.
Women also tend not to negotiate salaries therefore leaving money at the negotiating table and keeping their salaries lower. There is also mention of the correlation between emotions and pay reviews, being that women respond to positive feedback with more satisfaction then that of monetary compensation, thus failing to acquire the much deserved pay increase. These facts may address a small percentage of the wage gap, but in no way explain away the entire 23. 5% difference (Kennedy et al. , 2008, p. 8). If fighting the battle of wage discrimination isn’t enough, then take a look at how the laws are written. Both the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 put the burden of cost and the difficulty of proof on the employee, making the chance of winning almost impossible. The government needs to provide assistance to those facing this unjust, and assist at all levels, state and federal to enforce and prosecute those crossing the line (Kennedy et al. , 2008 p. 14).
Equal pay to all could bring harmony and cooperation to the workplace, which could encourage higher production and increased revenue, proving that elimination of gender wage discrimination is a healthy change for the economy (Kennedy et al. , 2008 p. 14). All of these arguments play into the idea that if the gender wage gap was completely eliminated the economy and the government would benefit. Education, experience, networking and negotiating all play a part in the difference in pay, but as pointed out in this article, those arguments do not justify the 23. % variance. Equal pay also promotes women to a higher pay scale and removes many single parents from government assistance, in turn saving to government money. Higher pay and abolishment of gender wage discrimination means more taxes, more discretionary funds available for spending, decreased resentment in the workplace and positive teamwork, which could result in higher productivity equating to a stronger economy.