Week 21: Better Jobs: Gender Pay Gap
Default banner image

50 weeks of Action Archive


Week 21: Better Jobs: Gender Pay Gap

Week twenty-one
Better Jobs:  Gender Pay Gap 
In the fight for economic equity, the gender pay gap - the difference between how much men and women are paid - is a key issue.  The American Association of University Women conducted a study entitled "The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap" which analyzed the differences in pay among men and women with different races and ethnicities.  Today a woman working full time is paid 80% of what a man is paid.  However, the difference varies depending on a woman's age, race, ethnicity, and education.   The first graph compares the overall earnings between men and women in the same racial/ethnic group.
A surprising fact from the study is that education may increase a woman's overall earning potential, but it does not remove the gap between the earnings of men and women.  At the current rate of change, the gender pay gap in the United States would not close until 2119!
This imbalance affects a number of aspects of a woman's life.  For instance, women's ability to provide for their families, pay back student loans or save money for a rainy day are affected because she is paid at a lower rate than a man.  If women were to receive pay equity, the poverty rates among families with children and at least one woman would lower.
Economic equity was one of Dr. King's core values.  AAUW and other researchers have found that after accounting for factors like education, race, schools attended, type of job, etc., there is still an unexplainable difference in pay. All people deserve to be justly compensated, but the presence of economic inequities is a sign of larger social problems. In the case of the gender pay gap, it is a sign of implicit social bias and discrimination in the workplace.  
Influence Change! 
  1. Learn more about how you can influence change in gender pay equity. Join the fight for fair pay! Become a Two-Minute Activist by signing up to receive notices to contact your member of Congress to advocate for women and girls.
  2. Watch this CNBC video on the highest paying jobs for women.  
  3. Read a CNBC article on how millennial women are closing in on fiscal capacity by outpacing men in education and higher credit scores regardless of pay gaps.  See how some of U.S. business leaders are making efforts to draw attention to gender pay gap by sharing the impact it has on their companies. 
  4. See a recent lawsuit against corporate giant Google (9/14/17) regarding gender pay gap.
  5. What can be done? Women can learn to better negotiate for their salary and raises. AAUW is one organization that offers salary negotiation training particularly for women.
Stand Against Unequal Pay 
What do you think about when you hear the term unequal pay? Women are not always paid the same salary as men who do the same job. As we learn about the pay gap between men and women, think about the following questions:
  1. Are women's career choices affected by the idea that there are only certain jobs that women can do?
  2. Why do women still earn less than men in almost every career?
  3. Are there other pay gaps (or unequal pay for the same job) than those between men and women? If so, for whom? 
(For Elementary Students) 
Watch Pocket Money .  This video will help explain the pay gap between men and women.
Watch the video of  Sonia Sotomayor and Abby from Sesame Street. This  video will help you understand what type of careers you could have when you grow up.
Go to your local library and check out the book 
Sonia Sotomayor: A Judge Grows in the Bronx by Jonah Winter.
Young activist for equal pay. 
(For Middle and High School Students) 
Watch  It Starts on the Court: Gender Equality in Sports and  Beyond  at TEDx Deerfield Academy presentation by Sarah Du.
US Women's World Cup Soccer Team. 
New York Times 
Read the New York Times article Carli Lloyd: Why I'm Fighting for Equal Pay written  by
an  Olympic Gold Medalist and U.S. World Cup Champion.                                            
Discuss this question with peers or friends:
How do YOU feel about the pay gap or other types of gender discrimination in work, school, or sports?
share your story! 
Have you dealt with gender pay gap? Were you able to get what you deserved?  Tell us about it. Share your story.