Gender Wage Gap in Contemporary America
Godpower O. Okereke, Ph.D.

Gender wage Gap is the median annual pay of women who work full-time and year-round compared to a similar cohort of men. In 1963, the earnings ratio was 59%. This means that women were paid 59 cents for every dollar paid to men (National Equal Pay Task Force, 2013). Consequently, the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963 to guarantee equal pay for men and women performing equal work for the same employer. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed to expand and strengthen the Equal Pay Act by prohibiting discrimination on the basis of not just sex but race, color, national origin, and/or religion (National Equal Pay Task Force: page 4). The current study reviews the concept of “equal pay for equal work” in contemporary America to assess the extent to which the above legislations have been successful in addressing the issue of gender wage gap. Review of relevant information reveals that even though there have been improvements, substantial differences remain. For example, in 2011, women‟s to men‟s annual earnings ratio was 77%. This means that for every dollar men were paid in 2011, women were paid 77 cents and in 2018, gender earnings ratio was 81.6% meaning that for every dollar paid to men in 2018, women was paid 81.6 cents (National Committee on Pay Equity, 2019). Study also reveals that gender wage gap is a problem in occupations dominated by men as well as those dominated by women (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018). It also shows that women tend to congregate in the lower paying occupations. Given these realities, the author suggests that the U.S. Congress needs to pass new equal pay legislations including raising the federal minimum wage and take decisive steps to enforce these and existing legislations.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v8n2a7