The Myth of the Gender Wage Gap by Charlie Dominguez

Although this issue isn’t really a current event, it is still an ongoing issue that most feminists groups tend to talk about. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) ​says that, “Wage discrimination also limits women’s choices and has real consequences”. If there were wage discrimination, it is still the choice of the person on what field of study they enter. Correlating discrimination and choices is simply not true. In fact, recently, The AAUW​ admits that the “gender pay gap” is caused primarily​ by women’s choices​, not​ discrimination​. The point of ‘discrimination in wages’ is talked about in an article by Howard Wall​ and said that, If looked at closer, we can see the non-discriminatory factors:

– Occupation, Hours work, Education and Experience.
– Weekly vs. Hourly wage. (Women typically work less hours than men) (When you
compare hourly wages between men and women, almost one third of that ‘gap’

The argument that says that men and women in the same occupation have a wage gap is true to an extent. The reason for this is because of the hours worked by both men and women. The Bureau of Labor Statistics​ reports that it’s statistically proven that women work less hours than men. Shown on a graph provided by them, the TOTAL hours men work are 8.5 during the weekdays and the TOTAL hours of women working on the weekdays is 7.6. That gap suggests that women are not working enough to equally match the pay that men get. A primary  factor that is looked at when talking about gender wage gap, is education and experience. A study was done by a professor at Georgetown University​ saying that very low percentages of women choose highly profitable majors and a very high percentage of women choose majors that are less profitable. This study shows that men’s educational and experience levels are currently greater than women’s and that men gravitate toward industries and occupations that are higher-paying than women’s choice of occupation.

If we were to take the percentage of the ‘gender wage-gap’ from AAUW​, in California, which is considered high in gender wage gap percentage, women make 89% of what men do and only 1/3 of women make less than 29% as men.  Even with this information, you still have to look at the choices being made by both men and women. In a 2009 study by the U.S. Department of Labor​, they found that  this gap “may be almost entirely the result of individual choices being made by both female and male workers”. For the past few decades, untold millions of state and federal dollars have been devoted to recruiting young women into engineering and computer technology. It hasn’t worked. According to the Department of Education​ data, in 2000, has shown that women earned 19% of engineering BA’s and 28% in computer science; by 2011, only 17% of engineering degrees were awarded to females and the percent of female computer science degrees had dropped to 18%. This evidence suggests that women have the potential and talent to succeed in these fields, but their interests lie elsewhere. It is important that when examining the wage gap, other factors are considered, rather than placing all of the emphasis on gender discrimination.

Charlie Dominguez

Coachella Valley High School


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