The gender pay gap is the difference in average gross hourly earnings between women and men. Despite the continuous efforts of activists and policymakers, gender equality is still a far fetched dream. Women are working longer hours and pursuing higher education in greater numbers. However, despite this progress, significant wage gaps between men and women persist. Working women are paid less than working men. A large body of research accounts for, diagnoses, and investigates this “gender pay gap”.
Even in the developed countries like United States women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man makes.Many argue that gender discrimination explains a large part of the difference in earnings. Others argue that parenthood and gender roles usually affect women’s earnings more than men.
The research published in industrial relation journal of economy and society examines the gap at different parts of the wage distribution, or for different demographic subgroups, or are adjusted for factors such as education level and occupation. The gender pay gap is the result of many factors, including race and ethnicity, disability, access to education and age. As a result, different groups of women experience very different gaps in pay. But there is another factor to keep in mind is that we can’t address the third world problems as similar to that of developed countries. We can’t compare a software engineer woman working for Microsoft and a woman working in palm oil plantations in Malaysia.
Gender pay gap in different occupations
It is sad to say but there is no occupation left that can proudly say that we pay women equally as men.The gender pay gap occurs across almost all occupations and industries. Wage gap reflects the fact that women are more concentrated in lower paying occupations. There are clear effects of occupational segregation, or the funneling of women and men into different types of industries and jobs based on gender norms and expectations. So-called women’s jobs, which are jobs that have historically had majority-female workforce, such as home health aides and child care workers, tend to offer lower pay and fewer benefits than so-called men’s jobs, which are jobs that have had predominantly male workforce, including jobs in trades and business such as building and construction.
Healthcare support occupations, a female dominated sector, has the smallest uncontrolled pay gap. These women earn $0.96 for every dollar earned by male healthcare support workers. Women make up 87 percent of workers in this sector, yet still do not see the same earnings as the other 13 percent of their male colleagues.
Women with MBAs take home $0.75 for every dollar men with MBAs take home. The gap decreases to $0.97 when we look at the controlled pay gap, suggesting that women and men with MBAs have very different job titles and job levels. These gendered differences are true across all industries and the vast majority of occupations. Even in the higher paying jobs the gender wage gap remains the same. Different occupations require different schedules. Some jobs require specific hours and some are more flexible. Does difference in working hours affects the gender wage gap?
Differences in hours worked
Women tend to work fewer hours to accommodate care-giving and other unpaid obligations, they are also more likely to work part time, which means lower hourly wages and fewer benefits compared with full-time workers. The data shows that there is a persistent difference in the hourly rate earned by women and men. The average hourly pay increases as the number of hours worked per week increases. This is true for both sexes. Women tend to work different hours than men, which affects their earnings.
Women are more likely to work low wage jobs and low wage jobs usually
require more flexibility in working hours such as night shifts and on – call shifts. On the other hand among high wage workers, firms and companies reward those who work long and particular hours, and those are usually men which tends to widen the wage gap between men and women.Because men tend to work more hours than women, especially if they are married, and even more if they are married parents, this could explain a large portion of the pay gap.
Motherhood wage penalty
The Georgetown university data shows that on average, single women without kids are getting paid more than men for every hour spent at work. There is another question raised when we talk about differences in working hours and that is “does motherhood and marriage affect the gender pay gap?” Yes, it does and it is called the motherhood wage penalty.
No wonder, it became a whole new debate about women rights. Research has consistently shown that women with children are paid less than women without children and men with or without children. From the available data it appears that the unadjusted motherhood gap tends to be larger in developing countries than in developed countries.
Even after researchers control for variables such as education and experience, they find that mothers are paid approximately 4.6 percent less on an hourly basis than women who are not mothers. There seems to be a motherhood penalty for earning. It seems clear that mothers suffer a wage penalty over and above the penalty for being a woman raises concerns not only for gender equality but also for the capacity of societies to manage a sustainable balance between their economic aims of active female participation in paid work and the social aims of providing a fair distribution of income to support the reproduction, rearing of children and maintaining a healthy population age ratio.
One reason behind motherhood wage penalty is that it may reflect and reinforce the gender stereotype that it is women and not men who must sacrifice earnings for natural interruptions to paid employment caused by the experience of childbirth and the associated period of leave to care for the child. The stereotype is very common in developing countries like India where men barely get a paid paternity leave. Nowadays men also play a huge part in parenting and taking care of their kids financially and emotionally but only women seem to pay the price in the form of a gender wage gap.
Do highly educated women pay less than highly educated men ?
More education leads to higher earnings but the gender pay gap still exists with a huge difference, women earn 74 cents for every dollar men make. Somehow higher education does not lead to pay equity. No matter how high a woman’s educational qualification, the gender wage gap remains the same. Women paid less than their male counterparts who have equal educational qualifications.
The data shows that men graduates have a higher salary right out of the gate than their women counterparts. But ten years after their graduation the gender wage gap widens even more up to 60 percent. As women age the wage gap among higher educated women and men starts to shrink. It might be because women take the child rearing task during their mid thirties.
These findings might be indicative of highly educated women taking jobs that are less demanding and therefore less rewarding than their educations may have prepared them for. However, it may also be indicative of the motherhood penalty or more general bias against highly educated women or women in particular occupations or industries.