Any topic (writer’s choice)

    Write a journal reflection of one-two pages explaining the issue and showing how you would apply your knowledge gained from the diversity issue.

    The payment people receive for their work is one objective measure of the value placed by society on that work and the people who do it. Historically, men have earned more than women for equivalent work, an outcome called the gender pay gap. As much as we believe equality between the sexes has been achieved through the Civil Rights and Womens Liberation movements, data reveal a persistent pay gap between men and women. According to the Institute for Womens Policy Research, an organization that tracks gender wage gap data, the ratio of mens to womens median weekly income in 2010 was 80.3. In other words, in 2010, womens earnings were about 80% of mens earnings (Hegewisch, Williams, & Henderson, 2011). The wage gap is larger when looking at annual earnings: In 2009, womens income was about 77% of mens income. The gender pay gap in annual income, which was around 60% in 1960, has steadily narrowed over the past 50 years. However, the rate of growth in womens compared to mens income has slowed in recent years. Between 1980 and 1994, the gap closed by 12 percentage points, but improved only an additional 5 percentage points in from 1995 to 2010. Hilary Lipss (2003) review of the gender pay gap evaluates numerous possible artifacts (i.e., explanations other than sex) for why men earn more than women. Lets briefly consider her analysis. Is the gender pay gap in part explained by women working at part-time jobs more than men, and thus earning less? Nowhen just full-time workers are analyzed, men still earn about $15,000 more per year on average than women. Is the gender pay gap simply the result of women choosing different (and lower paying) careers and occupations than men? To test this idea, Lips (2003) compared what men and women are paid in jobs that are dominated by women (see Table 6.2).
    It is true that jobs traditionally occupied by women pay less than jobs traditionally occupied by men, but these data show that even in female (stereotypically speaking) occupations, women earn less than men. There are jobs in which women earn more than men, but the pay gap, favoring females, in those occupations is tiny. For example, special education teacher is the occupation where women outearn men the most, and women earn on average only 103% of males earnings in that field. By comparison, in occupations where men outearn women the most (e.g., management, health, and medicine), women earn about 63% of mens salaries. The large gender pay gap in traditionally male-dominated occupations (e.g., construction worker, truck driver, physician, attorney) suggests that advice to women to pursue male-dominated careers to avoid gender discrimination is misplaced. Women will earn higher salaries in those fields than in female-dominated fields, but their work will be valued less than mens work (insofar as salaries indicate value). Indeed, Lips suggests that the gender pay gap reflects the devaluation of anything done by women more than the devaluation of particular occupations. Finally, the current gender pay gap does not seem to reflect slower-than-anticipated progress toward gender equality. In 1951, women earned 64 cents for every dollar a man earned; today, over 50 years later, women are earning just 80 cents for every dollar a man makes.
    Table 6.2 The Five Most Female-Dominated Occupations, the Percentage of Female Workers, and the Percentage of Males Pay Earned by Women in Each Occupation
    SOURCE: The gender pay gap: Concrete indicator of womens progress toward equality, by H. Lips, 2003, Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 3, pp. 87109. Copyright 2003 by Blackwell.
    Another explanation for the gender pay gap focuses on different perceptions of income entitlement in men and women. Brenda Major and her colleagues (1984; see also Major, 1994) have found that women feel entitled to, and are satisfied with, lower pay than men for the same work. Researchers controlled job status and other background variables in a study of pay entitlement in over 1,500 Canadian full-time workers (Desmarais & Curtis, 2001). On average, males felt entitled to an annual salary of $37,030 for their work; females felt deserving of $24,821. When the analysis equated male and female workers on age, educational attainment, years of experience on the job, occupational status, and number of subordinates, women ($27,111) still felt entitled to less pay than men ($31,718) felt they deserved. When the previous years income was added to the group of control factors, however, the gender difference in salary entitlement disappeared. This shows that the salary people feel entitled to for the coming year is based strongly on their previous years salary (which tends to be lower for women than for men). When those unequal comparisons are held constant, mens and womens salary entitlements do not differ. This conclusion was also reflected in the raise men and women felt entitled to: 34% of the women compared with 27% of the men believed they deserved a raise of at least $10,000.
    ?    What do you think would happen if women were to overtake a traditionally male-dominated field? Would salary levels and occupational status decrease because the field was now associated more with women than men? Can you think of an example where this has happened?
    ?    Discuss some of the following explanations offered for the gender difference in salary entitlement:
    Women value money less than men (Crosby, 1982).
    Women evaluate their work differently than men (Major, McFarlin, & Gagnon, 1984).
    Women compare their pay with other women rather than men (Bylsma & Major, 1994).

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