After reading about Wal-Mart’s staffing practices and the Dukes v. Wal-Mart case earlier in the semester, I decided that I wanted to take a closer look at inequalities that exist in the workplace. When starting my research, I came across a think tank that is devoted to understanding women and their socioeconomic place in society. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) reports on women in terms of education, the economy, employment, democracy, poverty, welfare, work and family, and health and safety.
I have chosen to focus in on the gender wage gap. According to IWPR, women receive more college degrees than men and make up half of the workforce. They are the main providers or equal contributors to household income in four out of ten families. Despite this, women are still only making 77 cents to every dollar that males are earning, a gap of 23%. The IWPR studied how this gap has changed over time; their findings certainly surprised me. The gender gap is being narrowed at a decreasing rate. In the past decade the gap was only shortened by less than half of one percentage, whereas between 1991 and 2000 it decreased by about four percent, and more than ten percentage points between1981 and 1990. IWRP stated, “According to our research, if change continues at the same slow pace as it has done for the past fifty years, it will take almost another fifty—or until 2056—for women to finally reach pay parity.”
As a female who will soon be entering the workforce, I am interested in learning more about this wage gap and what the IWRP believes will happen to it in the coming years. In several studies the IWRP actually goes through and examines the gap by occupation. I am curious to see what the current gender wage gap is for the positions I am currently applying for.