The gender pay gap and its effect on the wage rate


The gender pay gap in the USA gives the ratio between male and female average earnings for all-year-round employees who work full-time; it is dependent on the source of income (Miller &Vagins, 2018). For female workers, according to various researches, the average is between78 to 85 percent of that of the males’ earnings for annual salaries that are unadjusted. If adjusted on the account of the working choices made by men and women in the line of work, the hours they work in a day, and when they go on leave, statistics show that the paying rates between men and are that a woman earns between 94 cents for every dollar a man makes (Cardoso et al. 2016). The 6 percent gap resulting from the adjusted statistics ishypothesized to emerge from unmeasured disparities, the high regard for other forms of benefits other than money, potential discrimination in gender, and differences in how people can negotiate payment. Other factors that may have impacted the wage gap are differences in levels of education, unionization (Verma, 2017), variations in age, and part-time working. This article supports the argument that the gender pay gap has affected the wage rates in the USA.  it intends to discuss the case in-depth, to outline the different methodologies that have been used by various researchers to into such a conclusion, and to come up with a research methodology that aids in filling up the gap.


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What drives the gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is found to have, though narrowed, remained persistent over the years despite the increased efforts by women in joining the labor force and being active in their contribution to the growth of the economy (O’Neill 2019); various researchers have explained this as a result of occupational separation, family responsibility, and career choices. Regarding professional segregation, which contributes to 50.5% of the wage inequality (Fortin, 2016), a research done by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research show that for instance, out of 10 working women, four of them work in lower-paying job where the percentage of women in that particular occupation is at least 75 percent. The research showed that female employees in any industry are often flocked where the wage distribution is lower. The career choices also highly contributes to the persistence of the gap,  Research by AAUW, showed that for instance, women who chose a career in computer science had a better chances of earning more by at least 37 percent than those majoring in education, office clerks, or secretaries (Auspurg et al., 2017). The family responsibility women often have, which has a higher consequence on the kind of occupation women often choose, for instance, most women work part-time jobs as compared to men according to the Current Population Survey (CPS), so that they have enough time to look after their children, others who work on full-time basis go on leaves frequently which adversely affects their earnings.

Different methodologies have been used to determine the gender pay gap.  One common method is doing the summation of all annual salaries of women working on full-time basis, all-year-round and then calculating an average, the same is done for men, after which a comparison is made for both to determine the pay gap. This method is the most commonly used by the US Census Bureau. Following research done by the Pew Research Center in 2018, statistics show that the female employees’ salaries are 85 percent of those earned by male employees in the US (Graf et al. 2018).  Regarding this research, it is estimated that women would require 39 extra days to earn what their men counterparts earned. The age gap was narrower for adults aged between 25 to 34 years, and it was found that female employees earned 89 cents while a male worker in the same age limit earned a dollar. Another methodology used is the summation of weekly salaries for both men and women, and then finding a median to compare the gap; this method is commonly used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and gives a lesser gap as compared to the annual computation. Both are sound methodologies, as the difference is very minimal.

My research contributes to narrowing this gap as it proves that the pay gap is not as entirely as a result of discrimination but instead as a failure of statistical adjustment to counter the factors that make earnings of both men and women different (Pham et al. 2018). These factors themselves are however affected by somewhat gender bias that exists in the labor force, for instance, for a woman to earn her first dollar, she needs to have studied for many years, have gone through various mentoring programs, and had intense training which is not the same for men, hence the domination of women in lower-paying occupations (Blau&Kahn, 2017).  Making statistical adjustments putting into account the different factors such as the type of occupation, the hours worked. If they are working on part-time or full-time basis, that unadjusted data ignores helps to reduce the gap by a margin of about 15 cents. If the industry put this into account when giving salaries to their female employees, then there would be a change in perspective that women should get lower wages as compared to their male counterparts.


In conclusion, it is crystal clear that the gender pay gap hurts women in society in many ways. In the attempt to understand why this gap exists, women should not at all be blamed for earning lesser, and instead, the focus should be to analyze and comprehend why there are unequal opportunities in education and career choices for women (Dunn, 2018). This should be the first step to undertake in an attempt to close the gender pay gap that exists, there are various steps that can be taken, and one would be increase the participation of women in the labor market, place more women in management positions and ensuring that gender parity is enforced in the future.


Ahn, H., Roll, S. J., Zeng, W., Frey, J. J., Reiman, S., &Ko, J. (2016). Impact of income inequality on workers’ life satisfaction in the US: A multilevel analysis. Social Indicators Research128(3), 1347-1363.

Auspurg, K., Hinz, T., & Sauer, C. (2017). Why should women get less? Evidence on the gender pay gap from multifactorial survey experiments. American Sociological Review82(1), 179-210.

Barth, E., Bryson, A., Davis, J. C., & Freeman, R. (2016). It’s where you work: Increases in the dispersion of earnings across establishments and individuals in the United States. Journal of Labor Economics34(S2), S67-S97.

Blau, F. D., & Kahn, L. M. (2017). The gender wage gap: Extent, trends, and explanations. Journal of Economic Literature55(3), 789-865.

Cardoso, A. R., Guimarães, P., & Portugal, P. (2016). What drives the gender wage gap? A look at the role of firm and job-title heterogeneity. Oxford Economic Papers68(2), 506-524.

Dunn, K. (2018). Book review: the cost of being a girl: working teens and the origins of the gender wage gap by YaseminBesen-Cassino. LSE Review of Books.

Fortin, N. (2016, June). Earnings Inequality and the Gender Pay Gap.In State of the Art Lecture, CEA Meetings.

Graf, N., Brown, A., & Patten, E. (2018).The narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay. Pew Research Center, April9.

Miller, K., &Vagins, D. J. (2018). The simple truth about the gender pay gap. American Association of University Women.

O’Neill, S. (2019). Gender pay gap grows. New Scientist241(3223), 45.

Pham, X., Fitzpatrick, L., & Wagner, R. (2018). The US gender pay gap: the way forward. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy38(9/10), 907-920.

Verma, A. (2017). What do unions do to the workplace? Union effects on management and HRM policies. In What Do Unions Do? (pp. 275-311). Routledge.

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