Gender pay gap – What it is and the factors resulting in the pay gap

For the most part of history, gender inequality is a heavily debated topic of discussion because from time immemorial it is always the men who have been the dominating force in the society which are reflected in the benefits they receive.
Gender pay gap is the difference between wages and salaries of men and women. It is the median yearly pay of women working full-time and throughout the year compared to the remuneration of men in the same category. Other estimates are based on hourly or weekly earnings or specific to a group of women.
The term ” equal pay ” came into spotlight in the year 1963 when Former President John F Kennedy amended the 1938 Fair Labor standard act which was a part of his New frontier program. But this did not put an end to the gender pay gap which has been existing from the time women came into the workforce during the industrial revolution. Even until the year 2017, women earned only about 81.8% of what men were earning.
The gender pay gap has become a major topic of research with women playing a big role in labour force facing alarming pay iniquities. A survey conducted on a company’s database with responses from around 2000 working women drew a conclusion that about 68.5% of the respondents said that the management does not want to take any necessary steps to bridge this gap even if gender parity is a priority resulting in zero change. The article further said ” it’s not just ‘glass ceilings’, but also ‘glass floors’, ‘glass doors’ and ‘glass walls’ at the workplace”.
Factors resulting in gender pay gap :
Gender pay gap is one of the gold mine area of research in labour market because it has an immense impact on wages. Wages is the primary motive of any labour force and this wage is distributed unequally to the labourers based on their gender due to a number of factors . Factors that result in the gender pay gap include occupations segregation, direct pay discrimination and bias against working mothers. In addition, factors like disability, racial bias, age and access to education also affect the gap in gender pay.
Occupational segregation :
Occupational segregation is most often based on gender where, women in female-dominated occupations face two different marginalisation based on wage. Firstly the average wage of their jobs is lower than that in comparable male-dominated jobs, and secondly they earn less relative to men in the same jobs .Occupational segregation is evident within occupation differences in earnings rather than differences in occupation itself. To put an end to all occupational segregation caused by gender more than half of the women in the labour force will have to go in search of a different occupation. It is said that it will almost take would take 150 – 320 years for occupational segregation to reach the point of integration. Occupational segregation occurs majorly because of preconceived notions and assumptions on which gender is best suited for best role rather than considering the efficiency of the person. This has an effect on the economy because it limits the participation of the labour group due to which they inevitably adopt to sectors which correspond to their gender and also lowers the aggregate demand in the economy causing a fall in female wages and leading to the gap in gender. It was also found that UK attributes to about 17% of pay gap with occupational segregation by gender. The female dominated jobs include about 22 occupations which is compressed into seven groups which are Office and administrative assistance,Health care and care support, Cashiers,Food preparation, Early childhood care and education, Beauty and personal services, Maids and housekeeping cleaners who earn less than 15 dollars per hour which is less than what men earn in the same occupation and contributes to only about 93.5% of what men earn.
Bias against working mothers :
Bias against working mothers is a kind of discrimination women who are pregnant or who just delivered a baby encounter in their working space due to which they don’t get the pay they deserve. Working Mothers particularly face more discrimination and in account for most gender gap in wages in comparison to the non mothers. This status of being a parent had a toll only on the female applicants because motherhood is seen as culturally incompatible with being an ideal worker whereas fatherhood or the paternal wall bias does not exist because the man is looked as the package deal of being a good

father and a great employee and are expected to work even if they have a new born at home. An economic study proved that the difference in pay gap between mothers aged less than 35 and non mothers is greater than the gap between men and women. The various factors for this wage gap for working mothers included reduced investment in human capital, lesser effort and efficiency compared with non mothers. The “work effort ” hypothesis by Becker in the year 1985 concludes that it might be possible that mothers are less competent, committed and are less productive at work because they have spent all their effort and energy caring for their children. This discrimination can be based on three factors, which is skill, trait and behaviour. A research also said that this wage gap is likely to be prevalent either because working mothers are assumed to be less productive or because employers stereotype working mothers and discriminate them or sometimes the reason maybe the combination of the two.
Direct pay segregation
Direct pay segregation is when women are paid comparatively lesser than men and women for the same job. A survey in India came up with the finding that male members on company boards earned about 1.22 crores annually and the women board members earned only about 60 lakh annually which is two times lesser than what men boars members earn die the same job. This is because the society has a great influence on what roles each gender should posses and therefore puts a level of pay for each gender. Women are often considered inferior and less competent than their male counterparts therefore they are often paid lesser for the same work. This was believed to be because women had lesser human capital than men in terms of knowledge, skills and experience. A major example for this direct pay segregation is the pay gap between the women’s and men’s soccer team of the US. According to reports, the U.S. women’s soccer team are paid only $2 million for winning the FIFA Women’s World Cup while the men’s soccer team players are paid $35 million. This discrimination extends even towards the salary where women receive between $6,842 and $37,800, while the men receive up-to $50,000.
Age is one of the primary factors that widens this gap. Women are paid only about 90% of what men are paid on weekly basis which stays the same until around the age of 35 and then through retirement, women are paid 74–82 percent of what men are paid, depending on age. By the time workers reach 55–64 years old women are paid only 74 percent of what their male counterparts are paid. The gender gap is narrower when the working women are younger in age which includes women below their 35’s. This gap widens the most when they reach their forties reaching its widest point for women in their forties. The various reasons include that older women are found to have a have a lower level of education than the younger women who are already undergoing this wage gap and also because of their shorter span of time in their job tenure when compared to their counterparts.
Dsabled people experience low employment opportunities and even if they get an employment ,they receive less pay. The causes of the disability pay gap are complex. The rate of employment for people with disabilities was only 35% ,with 63% men and 57% women in the year 2014. Another factor for this gender pay gap is disability. It is measured by answering questions related to these six disabilities: hearing, vision, ambulatory(related to walking) , cognitive(understanding), self care and independent living. The bias on women with disabilities is more than that of men with disabilities, because they tend to paid lesser than men with disabilities even though both are are prone to disability. This disability does not just cater to physical disability but also mental and progressive illness. In the 2015 ACS report, it was found that disabled people made only 68% compared to what people without disabilities made. And among people with disabilities also women made only 69% compared to men.
Racism :
Racism in today’s world is a longstanding phenomenan which constitutes to double marginalisation in women because they face oppression because firstly they are women and secondly because they belong to a particular race. Though men who belong to a certain race also face this oppression, women are doubly taken advantage of. Most companies generally pay lesser to the women who are so called “black” or “discriminated “. A research stated that non-white people earn lesser than the whites which is associated with discrimination because they are believed to have poor command of the particular language or because they exhibit qualities which do not match with the culture they are put in. Therefore they become overqualified and underpaid for the job which results in the pay gap.
The above factors give way to gender pay gap to exist.

The gender wage gap is real problem affecting women all over the world. This gap should not just be considered as an evidence of gender inequality and discrimination but rather as a statistical artifact of failing to adjust for factors that could drive earnings differences between men and women.

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