Women’s Issues: Workplace Inequality
by Tracy Yu
Women face a multitude of challenges and issues every day simply because they are women. Perhaps the most prevalent of these issues is gender inequality in the workplace. There is much evidence that points to the occurrence of workplace inequality, such as the wage gap and unequal opportunity for women in the workforce.
In 1963, a woman was paid 59 cents for every dollar that a man earned. The Equal Pay Act was passed as an effort to reduce that wage gap by making it an illegal act to pay men and women unequal wages for doing the same job. The act has gradually reduced the gap over time, but not nearly enough. The wage gap persists in the workforce with white women earning 20% less than men in 2015– and women of color making even less.
Women’s progress in education through the years has narrowed the wage gap, but it still hasn’t led to equal pay. Although women’s wages increase as their level of education increases, that does nothing to solve the gap, since men’s wages will increase with their educational level as well. In some instances, the wage gap will be even greater at higher academic achievement levels. At the current rate of change, equal pay will not be achieved until 2059. As one of the biggest indicators of workplace inequality, the wage gap serves as a symbol of all the hoops and hurdles women must jump through in society.
Another issue that women face in the workforce is unequal opportunity. Women who have the same qualifications as men and sometimes even women who are more qualified will get overlooked for a job. Employers are more likely to hire a man and will even offer him a higher salary. This blatant workplace discrimination also applies to promotions. Women are less likely than men to get promoted, which results in women making up less than 15% of executive level positions.
Although society has come a long way since 1963 and inequalities between men and women in the workforce have since improved, there is a long way to go to achieve equal pay and workplace inequality is a still prevailing issue that must be addressed.