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Gender Workplace Discrimination Essay

1865 words - 8 pages

Gender Wage Gap Discrimination in Workplace

It has been 35 years since the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were signed into law in an attempt to eliminate wage discrimination based on gender. As a testament to the fact that the issue is not yet resolved is the fact that the first major piece of legislation signed by President Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, another attempt to bring equity to the issue. In this case, the question was not whether gender wage discrimination was, in fact in action, but whether the restrictive requirements of Title VII as far as discovery and filing dates had been satisfied. The court in their ...view middle of the document...

As even in disagreement as to the size and trend, there is agreement in the existence of the gap.

One possible cause of the wage difference has been labeled as the ‘family gap’. In his 2000 article for the Regional Economist, Dr Howard J. Wall, Director of the Center for Regional Economics (CRE8) noted that “Some of this unexplained portion [of the difference in median incomes between genders] might be due to the difficulties involved in accounting for the effects of childbearing on women’s wages. For example, women aged 27 to 33 who have never had children earn a median income that is 98 percent of a man’s” (Wall, October 2009). The focus here is on the absence of a means to measure the effect of career interruption due to parenting and childbirth. This lack of a measure also means that the contribution of this factor to the difference in median wages cannot be effectively gauged. So far it does not appear that there is any definitive progress on the career interruption factor.

Echoing this effect of the ‘family gap’ a study by Burda, Hamermesh and Weil finds that “women log more hours at home and men perform more work for pay” (M. Burda, P. Weil, D. Hamermesh, January 2009). This difference in punch lock hours worked, as opposed to domestic hours worked, has a significant effect on the median wage of women. A study conducted by Budig and England estimated that “American women experience a 7 percent wage penalty per child” due to factors associated with these additional domestic responsibilities (M. Budig, P. England, January 2009). A similar study by Ameu-Dorantes conducted on “college educated women who waited to have children after 30 found no such wage gap,” reflecting the conclusions of Dr. Wall (C. Ameu-Dorantes, J. Kimmel, 2005). The costs on the individuals and society of postponing childbirth, and the resultant lower fertility rates and higher birth risks have yet to be totaled. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 was one attempt to decrease the economic impacts of parenting on women, still other legislation and changes in tax laws have improved the availability of time for parenting and care giving while minimizing the immediate economic impacts. Dr. Wall summarizes his view in his 2000 article concluding “Even in a world free of all types of gender discrimination, as long as people choose to have children, there will likely be a gap between the average earnings of men and women” (Wall, October 2000). So, in this fact, Dr. Wall is stating that discrimination is not an assumable factor when concluding about the infant rate compared to the wage gap; because that is just a portion of the role that women fulfill as part of our society and continuation of the species. It would be an echo of George Orwell’s 1984 novel to expect that women would no longer be the child-rearing portion of our society, or even to force them to make the trade off between motherhood and career as we presently do.

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