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Why Does the Gender Wage Gap Persist? [video]

Recently, Pew Research Center released a short video to explain the findings from its gender wage gap study. The bottom line: although the gender wage gap has narrowed over time, it still exists. We'll take a look at how the wage gap affects the millions of hardworking women around the world who are required to work twice as hard to be considered half as good as their male co-workers.

Recently, Pew Research Center released a short video to explain the findings from its gender wage gap study. The bottom line: although the gender wage gap has narrowed over time, it still exists. We’ll take a look at how the wage gap affects the millions of hardworking women around the world who are required to work twice as hard to be considered half as good as their male co-workers.

Why the Gender Wage Gap Persists

(Photo Credit: JD Hancock/Flickr)

There are two kinds of people in the working world: those who think the gender wage gap is a bunch of bologna and ignore it; and those who live and breathe it and want it to be eradicated. For those who chose to ignore it, maybe ignorance is bliss, but the numbers are real no matter how you look at them. Women earn roughly 77 percent of what their male counterparts earn and that’s a big problem, says the White House. Thankfully, it’s an issue that isn’t being ignored any longer, as Pew Research reports that, “77% of women and 63% of men said ‘this country needs to continue making changes to give men and women equality in the workplace’.”

Do You Know What You're Worth?

In the video below, released on Equal Pay Day (April 14th), Pew Research provides a brief overview of the history of the gender wage gap, and it also highlights some of the key findings from its survey last year that found the following five barriers as contributing factors to the persistence of the gender wage gap:

1. Women take off more time to care for children.

2. Women reduce their working hours to accommodate their children’s schedules.

3. Women leave their careers to care for their children.

4. Women work in lower-paying occupations than men.

5. Women experience more on-the-job gender discrimination than men.

Watch the full video below:

(Video Source: Pew Research Center)

Despite their working status, women take on a much greater load than men when it comes to childcare and household responsibilities. According to the American Time Use Survey, “[W]omen spent more than twice as much time preparing food and drink, almost three times as much time doing interior cleaning, and four times as much time doing laundry as did men,” which comes out to approximately 2 hours and 13 minutes per day women spent doing household chores, compared to 1 hour and 21 minutes per day for a man. What’s more, the survey also states that, “On an average day, women spent about 54 more minutes in household activities and 18 more minutes caring for household members than did men.”

There’s no question that women are sacrificing their careers and “free time” to tend to personal matters (i.e. childcare) because their higher-earning husbands are too busy paving their careers. PayScale’s research suggests that a big part of the gender wage gap is due to women taking on lower-paying jobs as compared to men. For instance, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers are extremely lucrative, but also very male-dominant, with women holding less than 25 percent of jobs in these fields.

Additionally, because women are expected to take on more of the childcare responsibilities, they are likely to forgo pay to have a more flexible schedule that is better suited for attending afterschool activities or staying home with a sick child. Did you know that moms are 10 times more likely to take off work to stay home and care for a sick child than dads?

Much of the problem with gender bias is that it’s an unconscious one. We’ve all been programmed from a young age to subconsciously associate men with being breadwinners and women with raising children in the home, or men as heroes and women as helpless babes waiting to be rescued by their Prince Charming. These stereotypes stick with us into adulthood and they play out in our everyday lives, without us even realizing. So, in order for change to happen, we all must become conscientious about gender inequality and, in turn, become intentional in our means to eradicate the problem.

Tell Us What You Think

What are some ways that you’re helping to eradicate the gender wage gap? Share your acts of valor with our community on Twitter and join the conversation.

Leah Arnold-Smeets
Read more from Leah

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