The American economy is comprised of 139 million full and part time workers. Fifty three percent of the workforce is comprised of males; the remaining forty seven percent are females. While the gender distribution appears relatively comparable, there is a great disparity between the wages earned by males and females. Throughout all sectors of the economy, women are receiving less compensation than their male counterparts (AAUW, 2012).
The gap in salaries can be credited to two distinct problems that exist within the workplace. Motherhood is one such setback. Employers avoid hiring mothers based on the assumption that upon having children women become less productive in the workplace and therefore less valuable employees. The second contributing factor in the gender wage gap is the fundamental personality differences that exist between males and females. In order to succeed in the workplace, women must take on masculine character traits in order to appear competitive and worthy of respect. However, acting too manly is seen as a negative. Women must learn how to achieve the optimal balance of feminine and masculine qualities. An inability to do so results in lower wages.
Women are prepared to eliminate the gender wage gap. An increasing number of females are receiving college educations; they now surpass their male peers in degrees earned. However, their enthusiasm and determination is not enough in itself to reduce the discrepancy in salaries. It is up to Congress to take more aggressive action than it has in the past and create legislation that will truly close the gender wage gap once and for all.