Last updated on July 1, 2021
While the United States has certainly moved towards gender equality in the past century, there is a great deal of progress to be made. I have repeatedly heard from some of my peers that the gender wage gap is a “myth.” This is simply untrue: not only is the gender wage gap existent, but it is also vast. Census Bureau data tells us that women earned 82 cents to every dollar earned by men in 2018. This is problematic, especially in light of the economic issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, steps must be taken to alleviate the gender wage gap. Let’s outline a few possibilities.
To start, the minimum wage can be raised by passing legislation like the Raise the Wage Act. Women make up a disproportionate number of workers in low-paying jobs: raising the floor would give them more opportunities. Additionally, increasing the minimum wage would tackle food insecurity and poverty in the United States.
Child care has also been a concern of feminists for decades. Today, many women are obligated to stay at home and care for children because of gender norms. We ought to challenge these norms by guaranteeing universal child care. With this implemented, women will no longer have to sacrifice opportunities to work to stay at home. Universal child care has been proven to increase female participation in the workforce. Other countries with the program like Sweden, Norway, and Canada have seen an increase in working women. Furthermore, there has been a substantial change in the wages of women in Norway. Discrimination in the workplace will also substantially decrease as more women enter the workforce and the norm evolves.
Pay transparency should be advocated for as well. Some have argued that the Equal Pay Act of 1963 already makes unequal pay illegal; however, it is often incredibly difficult for coworkers to verify if their pay is equal. If companies are obligated to be transparent with the salaries of their workers, they will be less likely to pay male workers more than their female counterparts.
It is time to move on from ancient ideas of gender roles. We should always strive for a country where each individual has equal opportunities. We can do this by taking action like raising the minimum wage, implementing universal child care, and encouraging pay transparency.