Just How Significantly Does the Gender Gap Affect the Labor Force?

Since the beginning of time, America has been about the land of the free and home of the brave, and equality for all. However, since the beginning of a child’s education, students learn about the racism that existed in the past, and still exists today, as well as women’s suffrage that occurred all throughout the twentieth century. Although our country has made great strides in the right direction by increasing the rights for women as well as people of all different races, the work force tends to be a continually constant issue.

Many do tend to disagree when people, especially women, acknowledge the fact that men have been found to receive a higher salary when holding the same position as a women; however, April 8th, is our countries “equal pay day” and data does show that this statement is in fact true. In a blog written by Heidi Shierholz, she states that men do in fact receive a higher pay then women. Statistically speaking, in the year 2013 an average female worker made $15.10 an hour, while your average male worker made $18.11 an hour (Shierholz). This also directly correlates to high wage female workers and high wage male workers; as well as low wage female workers along with low wage male workers; women are simply paid less than men. When looking at the percent of women, and then men, working in 1970 and compare that to the percentage of women working today, as well as the percentage of men, the gap between the two has declined dramatically; however not enough. One aspect that has influenced the gender gap so greatly is the weak labor market, obviously a result of the recession seen in 2008. Since business’s have not seen an increase in demand for their products, this has caused them to become more timid about hiring more and more people. The result of less people obtaining jobs has lead to an the gender gap in the labor force to increase, rather than keep increasing. 

Going further, although closing the gender gap between female and male workers is at times a personal issue for most, the gender gap is a topic that affects low and middle income workers, more than I’m sure any knew. Shierholz noted, in her blog, that over the past three and half decades the gender gap specifically has been what is blocking the potential increase in wage growth among low and middle income workers. Shierholz’s idea for preventing this problem to continue? Enact policies which prevent the gender gap to affect low and middle income workers any more than it already does. Many people, including Shierholz, have thrown out many suggestions for our government to act on such as raising the minimum wage, enact mandatory paid leave, and enacting immigration reform. 

Since the last “equal pay day”, President Obama has taken steps in the right direction to correct the gender gap, as stated in a blog by Monique Morrissey, such as a policy which “bans federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay” (Morrissey). However it will be interesting to see if any other policies are enacted throughout the year to decrease the gender gap seen in the labor force. 



4/8/14, Monique Morrissey, “Equal Pay Transparency”, Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/blog/

4/8/14, Heidi Shierholz, “How to Make the Labor Market Work for Women”, Economic Policy Institute, http://www.epi.org/blog/



2 thoughts on “Just How Significantly Does the Gender Gap Affect the Labor Force?

  1. letitgoeverythingisawesome

    Does this gap still persist if you take into account educational attainment? Also I would be even easier to read Heidi Shierholz’s original post if it was directly linked to in the blog. I bet any blogging program will allow you to insert a hyperlink.

  2. jagarc15

    In addition to considering educational attainment, I think a useful approach for determining the gap’s effect on the labor force would be to assess the number of hours worked by men and women in similar job categories, while considering general maternal duties vs. paternal duties and how these could reduce either genders availability to work more hours. Another approach that could prove useful is the effect of gender discrimination in the labor force, and the effects of such discrimination on wages for those already holding jobs, or hiring process in general.

    Jonathan Garcia


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