Gen­der-driven wage gap

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De­spite a sense of con­tin­ued progress to­wards gen­der equal­ity in the work­place, the ar­gu­ment over wage gap be­tween men and women still persists. At a gen­eral level, the most likely rea­son given is the dif­fer­ing work pat­terns of men and women which lead to larger earn­ings gap. Re­search in this area sug­gests that work­ing women are pe­nal­ized for their dual roles as wage earn­ers and those who dis­pro­por­tion­ately care for home and fam­ily.

De­spite im­prove­ments, the wage gap has not closed evenly across in­dus­tries, par­tic­u­larly in high skilled ar­eas. It is said that women in the work­force are less likely to work a full- time sched­ule and are more likely to leave the labour force for longer pe­ri­ods than men, fur­ther sup­press­ing women’s wages. Also, women have fewer years of work ex­pe­ri­ence. In ad­di­tion, women’s earn­ings gen­er­ally lag be­hind men be­cause of their in­abil­ity to ne­go­ti­ate their salaries. Thus men get an in­her­ent an­nual bonus just for be­ing men.

An­other ex­pla­na­tion for the wage gap arises from the con­cept of ‘ firm­spe­cific skills’. These skills re­fer to ex­pe­ri­ences and qual­i­fi­ca­tions that em­ploy­ees may build up over time that are par­tic­u­larly valu­able to the em­ployer be­cause it con­cerns knowl­edge about its spe­cific prod­uct port­fo­lio, a tech­nol­ogy par­tic­u­larly cru­cial for the firm, re­la­tion­ships with its most im­por­tant cus­tomers, etc.

Firms that are afraid that women are more likely than

men to re­sign from their jobs at some point ( to give birth and take care of chil­dren) are more reluc­tant to as­sign jobs that lead to such firm spe­cific skills to women. On av­er­age, women build up less of those cru­cial firm spe­cific skills and earn less money for what seems to be the same job.

De­spite their in­tu­itive ap­peal, these ex­pla­na­tions are not ev­i­dence- based. As a mat­ter of fact, it is in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult to re­search firm- spe­cific skills. This is be­cause all that can be eas­ily mea­sured is some­one’s gen­der, their job sta­tus and their salary.

Also, in con­trast to these ex­pla­na­tions, dur­ing and af­ter the re­ces­sion, men took a greater beat­ing than women which led to nar­row­ing of the wage gap. Dur­ing the re­ces­sion, men lost more jobs than women and the sea­son­ally ad­justed un­em­ploy­ment rate among adult men was 10 per­cent com­pared with 8 per­cent for adult women.

Im­por­tantly, the com­pe­tence of women has en­hanced in mul­ti­ple ways. There­fore, when ex­perts make a com­par­i­son to ear­lier dis­crep­an­cies, it is found that the pay gap de­clined pri­mar­ily be­cause men and women have be­come more sim­i­lar when it comes to ex­pe­ri­ence as well as ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ment. Ex­ec­u­tives agree to the fact that women make bet­ter man­agers. Though chal­leng­ing to the so­ci­etal norms, the glass ceil­ing has started to break with in­creas­ing force. Women have be­come more em­pow­ered in mon­e­tary terms, be­cause a large num­ber of ex­ec­u­tives are fo­cused on the skills in re­sumes rather than what gen­der the can­di­date be­longs to. Thus, apart from the wages, there is also an equal op­por­tu­nity at­mos­phere cre­ated at work places for women to dis­cover their growth path.

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