The Wage Gap: A Costly Problem

Currently, white women make 78 cents for every dollar that a white man makes.. For example, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women make 65 cents for every dollar that a white man makes. Right below them is African American women who make 64 cents to a white man’s dollar.  Below them is Native American and Alaskan Native women who make 59 cents to a white man’s dollar. Latina or Hispanic women make 54 cents to a white man’s dollar. I was surprised to find out that Asian American women make the most a 90 cents for every dollar that a white man makes.

Now, let’s look at this graph that shows the breakdown of the wage gap by race


The definition of the wage gap is the difference between men and women in median wages. This affects most women in the workforce. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), if we keep improving how we have been for 50 years white women will be making the same amount of money as white men by 2059. This is only white women, for women of color there is still a ways to go.

Women also get paid less because employers try to compensate for the time that they may go on maternity leave. This is unfair because women should not be penalized for taking care of their children. If a man were to take time off to take care of his children he would not be penalized payment-wise.

This issue is important to me first of all because I am a young adult coming of age in this society. When I am looking for a job I do not want to be steered towards lower paying jobs when I am perfectly capable of being in a higher paying position. I do not want to be paid less than I deserve because of my gender.  I don’t want my kids to grow up in a world where they are taught that women should be valued less than men.  I am also passionate about this issue because it has been around for as long as women have been in jobs. It’s unfair that women have to be treated as less than equal just because of the their gender. Why is it that more women graduate from college than men, but women still get paid less. Shouldn’t we be basing salary of experience and qualification, not gender?

Women are often not given the same access to jobs that are dominated by men. They are often steered towards lower paying and less desirable positions. There are way more women in lower paying jobs than men. Even when there are jobs that have a high population of women, they are less valued than those that have a lot of men.
This leads to high poverty rates for women. In 2016, out of women ages 18-64, 13% lived in poverty. Men of this age only were only 10%. Retired women receive less social security benefits than men. Once they are retired, 11% of women are in poverty while only 8% of men are.

this graph shows the difference of poverty for women and men


women_poverty3 (1)
women_poverty3 (1)

To solve this is issue, we have to change people’s minds. We have to remind them that women can be just as qualified and capable as men, and that they deserve to be seen as so. Sadly, this may take awhile to change this. People do not like to be told that what they have been taught is wrong. What’s popular is not always right, what’s right is not always popular. To get behind this issue people have to learn to value everything that women have to offer. I hope to learn more about this issue and what people are doing to change it.

See my annotated bibliography here

Comments (1)

Isabella Torres (Student 2021)
Isabella Torres

This is a huge issue and an issue that would affect you, me, and many other women around the world. Everyone talks about this but I feel like no one is doing much about it (or at least nothing is happening). Great topic and I am excited to see more data and information from you!