Gender Wage Gap Causes

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The wage gap between men and women is a feature of the economy that has been measured and studied extensively. There is still debate, however, about the extent of this wage gap, the reasons it exists, and what consequences it has on the economy and society. Understanding the scope of this issue and its consequences are necessary for determining how great of a problem this really is and what steps are appropriate for addressing it.

Overview—Size and Scope of the Gender Wage Gap The gender wage gap is measured in terms of the disparity in the pay that men and women receive for doing equivalent or comparable work. The wage gap has been measured since women began to enter the workforce in significant numbers. From the 1950s to the 1980s, women
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One set of causes relate to the idea that women have been and potentially remain less qualified than men in some sense. For the entirety of the twentieth century, for example, women had lower average levels of education than men, especially at the post-secondary and graduate levels. Lower education levels meant that more women lacked the qualifications to take higher paying jobs or to advance to a higher rank within their workplace, lowering average wages for women. The problem with this, however, is that women in the United States closed the education gap by 2011 and now have higher average levels of education than men and are more likely to hold advanced degrees. If the gender wage gap were only a product of education, then, we should expect women to now earn more than men on average, and this is not the …show more content…
This is primarily related to healthcare and childcare. One study found that women face a significant wage penalty when they have employer-sponsored insurance when compared with women without it, and this is explained by the fact that women have higher expected healthcare expenses than men do during their prime working years. A lower salary is made up for, according to this, though the provision of greater healthcare benefits. The problem with this is that it is not clear if this is true. There is evidence that the gap between men and women only increases when full compensation packages are considered, with women less likely to have employer-sponsored health insurance, retirement savings plans, or access to paid leave than men do. Higher healthcare costs could only justify a gender wage gap if women were actually able to avail themselves of these services. Still, the perception that women use greater healthcare resources could contribute to the cultural basis of the gender wage gap. This can be seen in childcare. Research shows that women experience a penalty to wages when they have children or in anticipation of them having children, while men who become fathers experience a pay premium. There is no logical reason why women would be penalized for becoming parents while fathers are rewarded, suggesting that employers are

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