Proposal 2: A Closer Look at the Gender Wage Gap

For my first proposal I discussed the gender wage gap that exists within our society.  After reading through information collected from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the American Association of University Women I learned about the actual disparities that exist between the wages of females and males.  Although the gap has been minimized in recent years due to greater education equality, I was surprised to learn that it is being narrowed at a decreasing rate.  I was also shocked to learn how early on the gap actually begins.  While the gap is biggest at the most upper level jobs (which was in line with my expectations) I had no clue that it emerged as early as on as entry level positions.

To further my understanding of the gender wage gap, I have chosen to take a look at a different type of source.  Last week I focused on organizations solely devoted to promoting women and their rights.  This week I have taken a closer look at information provided by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a source that is likely less biased towards women.  This month the Bureau released a paper discussing the gender gap and what it believes the root cause to be.  What they concluded may surprise you.  It is not lesser education or unfair bosses that are responsible for the gap; it is women who are to blame for continuing the gap.  According to the paper, fundamental differences between how males and females communicate with others is to be blamed.  Women are more comfortable applying for jobs that clearly state that pay is up for negotiation or discussion.  They shy away from positions that do not mention the opportunity for discussion.  In stark contrast, males do not feel the need to back away from these jobs.  When a job description clearly states that wages can be negotiated, women are 9% more likely than men to go ahead and negotiate.  However, when job information does not have explicit mention of discussing salary, men are 29% more likely to push for higher wages than females.

Before coming across the National Bureau of Economic Research I had never stopped to think about the fact that core personality differences between males and females could be a contributing factor to the wage gap.  I would like to learn more about how fundamental personality differences impact the way we behave in the workplace.


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