Why do you think women still make less than men?© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com June 2, 2020, 11:13 pm ad1c9bdddf
A very interesting topic indeed! Please see response attached.
1. Hi-Why do you think women still make less than men?
Wage discrimination based on gender is somewhat controversial. In other words, it depends on whom you talk to and it is very complex as well.
1. Sociological Explanation:
For example, the feminist movement would blame the patriarchal hierarchical structure of a capitalist society. Mainly, that conflict arises due to scare resources. Since this is a patriarchal society, the power lies mostly in the hands of men, and the powerful e.g. men always end up with more of the resources e.g. money, power, and prestige. Women, on the other hand, are the oppressed, and usually, it is a win/loose situation for them, with the women loosing more often than not, including getting less pay for equal jobs.
The structualist and functionalist proponents would probably argue for the status quo, and that this type of structure initially worked together to keep the equilibrium or homeostasis of the societal structure. They have a tendency to explain the structure and not look for causes, other than everything works together for the common good of the whole organism e.g., society. It a systems theory. Therefore, the roles of men and women in society can be explained in terms of homeostasis and equilibrium. For example, in the past, since the men were usually the breadwinners, and needed more money e.g., mortgage, buy food for the entire family, vehicle, etc. they needed more pay, and when the women entered the workforce, their wage was thought of as a supplement to the man's 'main' income; so it was okay - from this belief and value system, to pay the women less money. As times are changing, relationships need to be negotiated and it takes time to change. In other words, we are transition, according to these theorists, with women getting more pay than they used to, but still getting less than men.
The internationalist theorists would look to the micro causes. For example, why do women accept less pay than men for equal pay? Why do both men and women executives offer men more money for an equal position? Perhaps, growing up in a societal system that has devalued women, we have internalized the ideals of society. Perhaps, women (and men as well) have to step out of the idea that it is okay, somehow, that men get more than women and that they perhaps deserve more pay than women do. It is about individual self-esteem and the ability to negotiate a decent wage, for the women. For example, if a job is listed with a pay range from $54,000.00 to $68,000.00 a women is more than likely to ask or settle for a wage more towards the bottom end of the pay range e.g. "I can work my way up" whereas the men would more likely be thinking " I deserve the top pay, so I will accept no less than $66,000.00 and argue for the position based on merit and power. Research suggests that if the job seeker has self-confidence and can sell her or himself, so to speak, the potential employers will want this person for the position, rather than someone who has less confidence in her or his abilities. But this is not the whole story, either.
Sociological theories, taken together, then, make sense. We have the residual of the past e.g., men in power; old beliefs that women belong in the home looking after the children and that women's' wages are only secondary; the idea that women are less reliable due to many responsibilities and have more absenteeism due to child care, and double roles that they often play; men are worth more money; etc. And, it is not only men who hold these ideas and beliefs, many women also think this way. Are we brainwashed in the psychological sense - and from a sociological sense, we (women and men; government) have indeed internalized the values and norms of society (e.g., devalue women and women's work value; and place more value of men, etc.). In other words, there is some truth in all the theories. However, for real change, I think women need to be the leaders since we have the need, but society and the government need to involved as well; whether it is to be focused on macro and structural changes through rallying for equal pay or micro changes, such as being more self-confident to ask for the higher wage. However, we also need to accept that it has been moving in the right direction (women get more pay now than in the past) and will continue to more in that direction if we continue to increase public awareness and individual awareness (women and men), as well. For example, if 100 women accepted the lower end of the pay range, and 100 men argued for the top wage, where do we need to see the change? Some would argue, that the wage range is set like it is, so the organization can indeed pay women less and men more without getting into trouble with the law for discrimination based on gender. Both make some sense, and both are probably occurring.
Perhaps, the best solution to long-term structural changes is with the focus on both the macro (changing public perceptions and beliefs and norms, demanding that the Equal Pay Act is enforced by the government, etc.) and micro changes (e.g., debunk the myths and beliefs of the past, women learning to value themselves and be willing to ask for the top wages, etc.) need to work together. And, structural change is a slow process and we need to accept that there has been some progress, but we need to keep pressing on (e.g., feminist movement rallying for women's rights at the macro level, government involvement through other demonstrations for equal pay and equal rights for women, men getting involved, etc.) and at the micro-individual level as mentioned above.
The following is from a women with very strong convictions (see Example 1 below):
"Unfair pay means all women lose. All women -- rich and poor, whatever their race or color or native language -- are being cheated by wage inequity. Sex discrimination is far more entrenched in the American economy than most people realize. And it won't stop unless, with the help of each other and of sympathetic men, women act. We must prove to American employers that we will not accept the depth and breadth of wage discrimination within our own workplaces .By chipping away at one deeply embedded form of discrimination, we can also tear down bigotry and bias based on race, ...
This solution examines why women still make less than men. Research validated with references provided.