Gender Wage Gap Doesn’t Make “Cents”


(Graphic by Ivy Smith)

(Graphic by Ivy Smith)
(Graphic by Ivy Smith)

For every dollar a man makes in Utah, a woman makes $0.69.
This means a woman will earn $1.2 million less over her career than a man will, according to the American Association of University Women. This gender wage gap exists in nearly every occupation, including those typically deemed “female occupations,” such as nursing and teaching.
Ann House, coordinator for the U’s Personal Money Management Center, said these differences are often due to educational gaps between men and women.
“In general, women aren’t graduating from college as often as men are,” House said. “This is often because women take time off for raising kids and let their husbands earn money.”
This cultural norm, House said, is the reason women are not receiving the same paychecks men receive. With educational differences and the stereotype of women being responsible for taking care of a family, she said women are also being offered lower starting salaries than men for the same types of jobs.
Kinsey Lance, a senior in biology, said stereotypes and differences women face in the workplace are important issues that need to be addressed.
“I think women’s decisions are sometimes based off other things more than what they actually want to do,” Lance said. “Decisions are based off of what their husbands want, fear-driven or made because they know they won’t be as respected in the workplace as a woman.”
Lance also said it can be hard for a woman to assert herself in the workforce because of these stereotypes, and therefore, many do not receive the same wages and promotions men do.
“All my life, I’ve been put down for wanting to be a leader and in control of things,” Lance said. “If a man does that, it’s considered good, but if a woman does it she’s seen negatively.”
Lance’s concern is supported by a study conducted through the Young Women’s Christian Association in Utah. The association’s research found women nationwide who work full-time, year-round jobs earn less, on average, than men. Statistics from 2012 stated the median annual earnings in Utah for women were about $33,000 while men’s were about $48,000.
Megan Carson, a senior in human development and family studies, said she is not as worried about being treated differently in the workplace because her future career is one typically saturated with females.
“If I was doing business or engineering or something more male-dominated, I would be worried,” Carson said. “But because women make up the majority in my field, I don’t think I’ll be as affected.”
Casey White, a senior in biology, said he feels it is important to have equality for women in the workforce, but because employers and universities are often required to hire and accept more females, some males feel they are not receiving a fair chance in the application process.
“I think affirmative action in the workforce is damaging,” White said. “I think everyone should be considered equally. Addressing the issue of women’s inequality is good, but in companies that are more liberal it can be the opposite effect and there is reverse discrimination.”
Last February, the Personal Money Management Center hosted a $tart $mart workshop for female students, empowering them with tools to demand equal wages and negotiate for a promotion. They plan to host another workshop this semester if enough students are interested in attending.
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