Jane Landwehr has been in the workforce for much of her adult
life and has witnessed many changes in the way females are treated.
Still, she hopes gender inequality in the workplace continues to
“I think it is important for us to keep up with the trend and
take measure of what’s happening so it doesn’t become a situation
where we lapse into old ways,” said Landwehr, the exclusive agent
at Allstate Insurance Company on Horsetooth Road. “We can’t predict
what the future holds.”
While women compose the majority of college graduates, full-time
female employees made approximately 77 cents for every dollar
full-time male employees earned in 2002, according to the U.S.
Census. This is up from about 64 cents for every male dollar made
in 1951, according to the U.S. Women’s Bureau and the National
Committee on Pay Equity.
“Studies have been done with resumes of people with the same
qualifications but different candidates and even though they have
the same qualifications, the male got the interview,” said John
Marangos, an assistant economics professor.
Since females earn only a portion of a male salary, women make
an average of $400,000 less than men in their careers, according to
the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and
Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW).
Despite the statistics, Gwen Zeiler, a senior apparel and
merchandising major, said she has high hopes for her future career
earnings, but that workplace inequality upsets her.
“I think it has slowly been getting better and will continue to
get better,” Zeiler said. “It still makes me angry.”
Cody Parker, a freshman business marketing major, believes that
culture has a lot to do with gender inequality in earnings and is
unsure what the future will bring.
“I don’t agree with it, but it’s a cultural thing that still
makes it more acceptable for women to work in the home,” Parker
said. “It’s seen as a man’s job to go out and work and provide for
the family. It’s hard to say if time will change that.”
The future of the income gap is unknown and the trends are
inconsistent, as the inequality varies by age. The narrowest gap in
income is between young professionals, but the gap increases as
people become older.
Alexandra Bernasek, professor of economics, said that while some
people believe the income inequality between genders is improving
because of the decreased inequality between young males and females
in the workplace, there are opponents to the idea that America is
closer to gender earnings equality.
“Other people say, ‘no, not necessarily,’ because what tends to
happen over the life cycle is that those family decisions come into
play and they affect women in a way they don’t affect men,”
Bernasek said, offering child care as an example.
Marangos said that since the United States does not subsidize
child care like many other countries, it creates a barrier that
will continue to make it more difficult for women to succeed in the
workplace and makes their career breaks more permanent.
“Since child care is so expensive and women are not earning as
much as men, they have to ask, ‘is it worth it?'” Marangos said.
“What they are making in the workplace has to be substantially more
than they are paying for child care for working to be a good
Marangos said earnings inequality will only decrease when
America makes an effort to change.
“The only way this can change is if employers change their
perception,” Marangos said. “Even above that, cultural ideals have
to change to favor women in the workplace before we can have less
Bernasek agrees that American ideals play a significant role in
“What we really need is a transformation in the labor market,”
Bernasek said, “where we look at employees as people who have
families and family responsibilities and accommodate that in the
work world and then there won’t be so much of a gender gap.”
Collegian reporter Ben Bleckley contributed to this report.