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< Back to question Is the gender pay gap a myth? Show more Show less

Under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 in the United States, an employer must pay male and female employees the same amount of money for equal work. Equal pay includes a worker’s yearly salary or hourly pay, in addition to overtime, benefits, and bonuses. The gender pay gap is the average difference in yearly earnings between male and female workers. Statistical research clearly indicates that women earn less money, on average, in a given year than their male counterparts. A debate emerges when feminists and gender equality advocates define the gender pay gap as being a form of systemic gender bias that results in women earning approximately 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. It can be argued that although women on average do earn less than men, this is not a form of conscious or systemic gender bias in the workplace, thus the gender pay gap as defined by the feminist movement does not exist.

The gender pay gap does not exist Show more Show less

When defined as a form of systemic and sometimes conscious gender bias, the gender pay gap does not exist. It is illegal to pay male and female workers unequally for equal work, therefore any perceived pay gap is due to misunderstandings of statistical research or simply the choices made by women.
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The difference in median earnings between male and female workers is due to the personal choices of women, so no gender discrimination is occurring.

Although societal pressures do exist, women are nonetheless free agents who can decide what career path to follow. Choosing to pursue an occupation that is female-dominated and does not pay as highly is personal choice and is not the result of discrimination.
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The Argument

Although society does place certain expectations upon women, and women might feel pressured to do or not do certain things, they are nonetheless free agents who can choose whether or not to let those societal pressure affect their life choices. Therefore, it's unfair to attribute women feeling the need to pursue careers that pay less on average to systemic gender discrimination when it is the woman herself who is making that choice. In that same vein, although some individual women may feel less confident in the workplace, and therefore are afraid to pursue promotions, it is still unfair for them to attribute their own lack of assertiveness to gender discrimination when they are allowed to pursue higher paying jobs but choose not to. Similarly, although women might feel pressured to have children and raise a family when they'd rather focus on developing their career, they still have the choice as to whether or not they will succumb to those expectations. Whatever decision a woman reaches is their own personal decision that should not be blamed on external factors.

Counter arguments

It is much easier said than done to defy gender expectations that have permeated society for centuries. Women who are raised within a patriarchal society are conditioned since childhood to believe certain things regarding gender, and shaking off those viewpoints is incredibly difficult and takes a long time. In addition, refusing to conform to certain expectations, such as the expectation to marry and have children, could result in serious strife within a woman's family (especially when the woman's parents desperately want grandchildren). It is sometimes easier for women to do what the patriarchy wants them to do. It can also still be considered gender discrimination because these expectations for women exist due to the patriarchy, which is upheld by men in society who make no effort to acknowledge it, question it, or make any attempts at dismantling it.

Premises

[P1] Although societal pressures on women do exist, women are free agents who are capable of making their own decisions. [P2] Women are given the opportunity to pursue promotions or high paying jobs but choose not to, therefore its unfair to attribute the pay gap to discrimination.

Rejecting the premises


References


    This page was last edited on Monday, 4 May 2020 at 07:03 UTC

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