A Historical Perspective: The Wage Gap

1586 Words 7 Pages
For several decades, most American women occupied a supportive, home oriented role within society, outside of the workplace. However, as the mid-twentieth century approached a gender role paradigm occurred. The sequence of the departure of men for war, the need to fill employment for a growing economy, a handful of critical legal cases, the Black Civil Rights movement seen and heard around the nation, all greatly influenced and demanded social change for human and women’s rights. This momentous period began a social movement known as feminism and introduced a coin phrase known in and outside of the workplace as the “wage-gap.”
According to Merriam -Webster (2012), the wage gap is defined as “a statistical indicator often used as an index
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Before American women’s’ work history is surveyed, it is first important to address why unequal pay matters to develop a common lens for understanding. As an example, on average, an American, thirty-five year old woman may earn $37k whereas a man of equal age, education, and position will earn $50k. This difference in earnings is $13k. Over the course of one year, the impact on the quality of life (housing options, quality groceries, and access to healthcare) as well as possibilities for advancement (furthering career training, leisure time, and perceived lack of wealth as a handicap) will have a substantial influence on the activities in the workplace. Particularly over the course of time, the oppression of these life differences will take a toll on one’s physical and mental ability.
Assumptions exist that occupational choice, level of education, interest in progression towards managerial roles, and personal characteristics have hinder women from making equal wages. However, evidence demonstrates that the same demographic of women who earn bachelor’s degrees, seek advancement, in the same role as men, still earn 82 cents to a dollar to what a man earns within just one year of college graduation. This divide continues throughout the career continuum, impacting social security benefits,

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