Gender Inequality Continues

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Dec 012003
 
Authors: Christiana Nelson

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

change.

“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

decision.”

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

inequality.”

Bernasek agrees that American ideals play a significant role in

income inequality.

“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.

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