All You Need To Know About The Wage Gap In 2022

All You Need To Know About The Wage Gap In 2022

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The wage gap between men and women has been discussed for decades. It’s time to dive deeply into this issue and see how it affects the wage disparity in our workforce today. This article will discuss the wage gap from every angle: why it exists, what it means for employees, and how businesses can help close it. We’ll also go over some statistics so you know just how big of an issue this is in America today.

Wage Gap By The Numbers

A 2015 survey of workers in Europe and North America found a gender pay gap of 23%. The main contributor to this gap was the underrepresentation of women in jobs with high-wage, and women were paid less than men for low-skilled work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the gender pay gap in 2008 was around 77 cents per dollar. However, most of the wage gap is due to differences in work experience and career interruptions.

A 2011 American Association of University Women study found that women graduating from college with bachelor’s degrees were paid 80 percent of what men were paid one year out of college.

Drivers of Gender Wage

Some differences result purely from individual choices being made by both male and female workers; the 2016 White House Report listed “occupation choice,” “major” (in college or university), and “work experience” as primary drivers for at least half of the gap.

A 2017 report by Glassdoor found that women negotiate to start salaries less frequently than men, an average of 2.7% vs. 4.1%.

Other occupational differences could be educational attainment or perceived discrimination due to a worker’s sex or family status. Economist Lawrence Katz states that about 10% of the gap can be attributed to differences in experience and training.

Career Interruptions

For example, women are more likely to leave work for childbirth, childcare, and eldercare. The OECD states that “a possible reason for persisting gender pay gaps is that jobs predominantly done by women undervalued compared with jobs predominantly done by men.”

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics alleges that slightly over 50% of the wage differences between women and men are now due to differences in the characteristics of women and men (such as education, experience, occupation, etc.), up from 1980, when it was closer to 35%.

The BLS also stated that women’s education levels were projected to increase faster than men’s.

Related: Women’s Reproductive Rights

Raising Children

One possible explanation is that mothers seek employment more flexibly than the types available if they do not have children.

Research also shows wage penalties for married mothers than married fathers (i.e., husbands of working wives) or single workers. An is that gender norms expect different behavior in men and women in the workplace.

The 2016 White House Report found no difference by sex among younger workers (aged 25–34) in their overall attitudes toward work.

Wage Gap Factors

In 2015, “Gender Earnings Differences in the European Union” was published by Eurofound.

This study found a persistent pay gap throughout the EU Member States, especially between older workers (>45) who earned considerably less than their male counterparts, despite similar workforce participation among these men and women.

The report discusses various explanations for this gap: female occupational choice, a manifestation of discrimination, or a combination thereof.

In Europe, research shows that there is still a persistent pay gap between men and women. The European Commission argues that this persisting gender pay gap is largely explained by “the major factors causing structurally lower female employment rates and lower female full-time employment levels.”


The prevalence of women getting tertiary degrees has only recently become equal to that of men.

The higher percentage of women receiving college degrees can be explained by changing social roles due to industrialization leaving non-farming jobs available for educated women. In contrast, farming jobs were left for uneducated men.

However, despite increasing educational equality among genders (with young females now outnumbering males within all 29 countries studied), significant sex-based gaps remain in many areas.

In the United States, women have attained a slim majority of bachelor’s degrees since the 1980s, and currently, 60% of those earning bachelor’s degrees are female.

Related: Women’s Rights Activism

Occupational Segregation

Occupational segregation refers to how men dominate some jobs (typically higher-status) while others (generally lower-status careers) are occupied primarily by women.

This form of occupational segregation leads to gender wage gaps even after controlling for educational attainment and experience. Occupational differences have both direct and indirect effects on the gender wage gap.

With only a small proportion of jobs being part-time employment. Of full-time workers, men work longer hours than women on average – 8.4 percent more in 2013 – or work full-time and then some – 16 percent vs. 2 percent among full-time workers (Sullivan 2014).

(The average worker works 1,878 hours per year.) As such, men make up the vast majority of those working or more weeks per year; women, on average, work 1,703 hours per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015).

Labor Force Participation

Worldwide, women have been more likely to be “economically inactive.” According to the International Labour Organization, women’s labor force participation rate has continued to grow since 2005, but it still slightly trails men.

In 2014, only 49 percent of working-age women were active in the labor market, compared to 77 percent of working-age men.

This relative difference between men and women is projected to decrease across all age groups by 2020.

Different jobs often require different levels of education for entry and promotion opportunities within them.

Furthermore, workplace cultures are predominantly masculine, and formal and informal workplace norms and cultures can create barriers to entry, promotion, or job satisfaction for women.


Feminization of certain occupations contributes to the pay gap via skills required, hours worked, work conditions, non-wage benefits, prestige, and customer contact.

The extent of occupational differentiation varies across countries due in part to labor demand characteristics that are influenced by social norms governing the roles of men and women in society.

For example, the share of female workers in the United States is higher than average in occupations requiring an associate degree or more minor (72% vs. 60%).

In contrast, it is lower than average in professional & management positions (26% vs. 36%) and technicians & related support positions (35% vs. 47%).

Maternity Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ensures that companies with more than 50 employees are guaranteed unpaid leave for specific medical and family reasons.

However, this does not necessarily extend to casual employees, self-employed workers, independent contractors, or those who work for small businesses where FMLA covers few employees.

This may result in women being disadvantaged relative to men due to women taking more of leave than men.

For example, according to the “White House report on women in America”:

“56% of working mothers (with children under 18) versus 33% of working fathers say that they have taken a significant amount of time off from work in order to care for a child or family member.”

Related: Women’s Equality Day

Pay Raises

This gives them an instant advantage over their female counterparts, who presumably do not know that requesting a raise would benefit them.

The result is that less experienced females are passed over for raises and promotions because they are unaware such actions will further their cause. In contrast, males are more inclined to take the initiative for their benefit.

In general, our society is skeptical of women in leadership roles.

A study by professor Marianne Cooper and Christine Silva at Stanford University shows that a manager who is perceived as very successful but is a woman will be seen as less likable than a man with the same characteristics.

In contrast, a man will be perceived as more likable. This occurs because people have specific ideas about what it means to be a female or male leader, influencing their perceptions even if those notions are not always accurate.

In other words, discrimination against women leaders often stems from “the application of different standards to men and women.”

The Glass Ceiling

“The glass ceiling effect refers to an unseen, unspoken barrier based on stereotypes that prevent minority members and women from advancing beyond a certain point in the workplace.”

Although the term “glass ceiling” originated from women’s experiences, scholars debate whether men face similar discrimination.

The glass ceiling effect can be seen in academia. There are fewer female professors than male professors at Ph.D.-granting universities despite earning more degrees by women than men throughout their academic careers.

Some scholars attribute this pattern of disparity to gender-based role socialization, which interprets career advancement as conflicting with family life and child-rearing responsibilities. This leads women to perceive that they will have greater fulfillment through raising children.

At the same time, men may get fulfillment through work or career development promotion, which furthers the organizational perpetuation of the glass ceiling.

Perceived Attractiveness

Some consider Appearance-based discrimination to be a subcategory of sexism or, more aptly, an example of ambivalent sexism.

The “social construction of beauty” refers to societies using stereotypical ideals of beauty as being socially significant, so “attractiveness evaluations are fundamentally concerned with the social legitimation of power.”

This can result in overt manifestations such as certain job positions being given to less qualified individuals based on their looks because they fulfill certain traditional notions of beauty.

In contrast, other jobs that do not necessarily rely on this notion hold merit.

Appearance-based discrimination also has negative consequences for men who fit society’s traditional standard for feminine beauty (e.g., long hair, slender figure) since they are discriminated against for conforming to the norm rather than being seen as unique.

Related: International Women’s Day

Final Word

The wage gap between men and women is a complex issue with no easy solution. It will take the effort of every person in America to close this wage disparity between men and women.

To close the wage gap, we must address four factors: education/occupation choice, child care responsibilities, wage discrimination & negotiation.

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