Since women first entered the workforce, the pay gap has remained a reality in respect to both gender and race.
Women who work the same jobs as men receive less pay, regardless of their skills or qualifications. This pay gap began when women entered the workforce during World War II, and though government regulations urged employers to pay women sufficiently in order to help them care for their families, many employers disregarded this suggestion. Since then, employers throughout the United States have neglected to regulate equal pay for women and men in the same position.
Gender pay gap
It took the U.S. 35 years to raise the gender earnings ratio between male and female workers by 19.4 percent, from 60.2 percent in 1980 to 79.6 percent, according to the Women’s Bureau. Although it is decreasing, if it took 35 years to still remain at a 20 percent gap, when will full equal pay be implemented?
In Oregon, women earn about 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. This varies from industry to industry; however, even in retail, men earn about $7,000 more in salaries than women. Even though our governor is a woman and we live in a progressive state, Oregon still struggles to bridge the pay gap.
The pay gap doesn’t only exist in U.S. but also plagues female workers in the UK, according to BBC. By April 4, 2018, large companies throughout the UK were required to report their gender pay gap figures; however, more than 1,500 companies failed to do so.
The UK Nike headquarters pays their female workers eight percent less than their male counterparts. McDonald’s pays their female workers almost 10 percent less than their male counterparts. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission determined that “three out of four UK companies pay men more than women, with an average pay gap of 9.7 percent.”
Racial pay gap
Not only is there a disparity between sexes, there is also a racial issue at hand. According to the Women’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor, white women and Asian women earn more than Black and Hispanic women. Regardless of education and skills, women of color tend to earn less. This is another factor that ties into the racial bias in America.
It is a reality that women of color earn significantly less than white men and women. According to the Pew Research Center, Black and Hispanic women only earn $12–13 hourly, while white men earn $21 hourly and white women earn $17-$18 hourly. This means that if a white man and a Hispanic woman worked the same job, worked 40 hours a week for 52 weeks a year, the man would earn $43,680 while the woman only earns $30,160. That’s about a $13,000 difference for two people working the same job, with the same qualifications only because one person is Hispanic and a woman.
White men earn more than any other man or woman in any racial or ethnicity group, aside from Asian men, who earn $24 an hour to white men’s $21 an hour. According to a 2017 report by Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Hispanic women earn the least of white, Black and Asian workers, as they only earn 62.2 percent of what white men earn per week working full time.
At the rate the U.S. is going, it will take another 15 years to eliminate the gap entirely. It is completely dependent on the administration and employers to care enough to pay women the same. Even by earning the highest degree, women still face hardships in the workforce, and it is even more difficult for women of color who not only have to work harder, but have to face discrimination as well. The fight for pay equality is not over yet, and hopefully in our lifetime, the pay gap will disappear entirely.