The Gender Gap: A Deeper Look

I never gave much thought to inequality in the U.S. I was always accustomed to the idealistic “anything can be achieved if you work for it” mindset that I’ve had since I was younger. I know that nothing is perfect, we have things like childhood hunger, diseases, obesity, and problems like that but when I was younger it never occurred to me that we had an inequality problem. As I grew older and older I began to recognize it more and they began to stick out more to me, some of the problems that I began to realize were inequality problems especially racial inequality, gender inequality, gay rights, and the widening wealth gap. It took me until I was much older, and in some cases I still don’t completely understand the depth of the inequality was and how bad the equality is that exists today. Some of the reasons why are because when I was younger I didn’t feel they were talked about in school or explained, but as I’m growing and maturing I’m quickly seeing some of the things we did right as a society and some of the things we still need to improve. We may have plenty of problems but the one that caught my attention was the growing gender gap between men and women. The unequal pay between men and women has always been there, but in the last few years alone it has been growing. We slowly have been making strides to help fix the problem, but the pace is moving slowly. As for why this topic is important, I always remember the wise words of Martin Luther King Jr, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. The growing gender gap is an injustice and the first step in trying to fix that injustice is to bring it to light.

It was my first day at my job, I was a paid canvasser, meaning I was paid to go around and ask for donations on behalf of a charity. I was told I would be helping the Nature Conservancy but when I got there I was told I would be helping out with Planned Parenthood and that we would be helping to spread awareness about women’s rights and equal pay and things like that. At first I wasn’t thrilled because at the time I knew nothing about the subject, and it wasn’t what I applied for but nevertheless I still went along with it. To make us sound more professional than just random teenagers asking for donations, they made us memorize a bunch of facts about women’s rights and reproductive rights laws and things like that. One of the things that caught my attention the most was some of the things I found out about the “gender gap” or unequal pay between men and women. So as far as my job went that was my go-to move when it came to getting donations.

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There are several reasons for the growth in the gender gap over these last few years is due to a few reasons including gender roles in today’s society, and availability in some cases. In cases where a woman may be a single mother or raising a child the timing of many jobs may not be as convenient because of the fact that she may have to take care of the child. In some cases finding a job that can accommodate time for both the mother and the child can be difficult. While a mother has children, most jobs have timing that may be inconvenient for them and in many cases the only jobs that can accommodate for them are the low paying ones. Some critics have blamed the gap on the career choices that women make, or their education level. In recent years women have had access to the same quality of education that men have. Even in the cases of educated women, on average they only make a percentage of what the men make in that same field and occupation.

I wish I could say that we are moving progressively towards a more equal and fair country but the facts would suggest otherwise. On the contrary the “gender gap” hasn’t moved a lot in the last decade. In fact were no closer than we were ten years ago to a more equal country. Women still, on average, make less than men do in the same jobs. Education has helped shrink the gap and is a big reason why it isn’t as bad as it was. The more education women receive, the more likely they will be n fact able to obtain high paying jobs. In fact in recent years men and women have been receiving degrees in identical numbers which has helped, but overall progress is still slow.
Nevertheless, there are still ways to help fix the problems including promoting women to achieve higher success in the workplace, giving them equal job opportunities. Better access to education has also been shown to help close the gap and has given them more access to equal pay. I do think we can’t just give away jobs or money because that would only be unfair and would defeat the purpose of even trying to get equal wages, but I do think we can help in other ways to improve the overall equality and fairness of the gender gap.

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