Opinion: Let's get educated about the gender pay gap

Women earn 80 cents to a man's dollar and they need to be made aware of this early on

"The gender wage gap is a myth," a frat boy said to me, his ignorance coming to me as a shock.

There have been countless research studies conducted to observe the difference in pay between men and women, including minority groups and other demographics. 

While college women oftentimes work minimum wage jobs and may not notice a gender wage gap, it is important for them to get acquainted with the wage gap in order to better negotiate their salaries when they enter the workforce. 

According to the American Association of University Women, the gender pay gap refers to, “the median annual pay of all women who work full time and year round, compared to the pay of a similar cohort of men.” 

In 2018, Business Insider calculated data from the United State Census Bureau that proves the wage gap exists. The article stated, “a woman earns 80.5 cents for every dollar a man earns, and women's median annual earnings are $10,086 less than men's.”

College women need to be aware that the gender wage gap is imminent after graduation. It is important for college women to learn that their male counterparts are negotiating their pay and that they should too. 

According to an article from the Harvard Business Review on how people negotiate job offers, "Women get a nervous feeling about negotiating for higher pay because they are intuiting — correctly — that self-advocating for higher pay would present a socially difficult situation for them — more so than for men."

Regardless of the job market, women can educate themselves on how to attain a fair, competitive salary and should understand their worth, and, considering the statistics on negotiations, women should discuss that during the hiring process. 

Chen Liang, a fourth year doctoral student in the W. P. Carey School of Business Information Systems Department, recently researched the gender wage gap in online markets through ASU. 

“As we all know, the gender wage gap is a long-standing phenomenon," Liang said. "The gender wage gap on the online market is actually close to the gender wage gap in America in a full-time job. We found that the gender wage gap was 20 percent, so that means a female can only make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes.” 

When looking at online jobs, such as freelancers and developers, women are clearly earning less than men. 

“Another research team found that among Uber drivers, females do earn less than males. We think that even though we don't consider these our full time jobs, we do still care why we earn less than males," Liang said. 

Being aware of these injustices and doing research before heading into a job interview can help raise the pay for women by encouraging them to demand more. Although this issue unfairly impacts women, their experience, education and worth make them worthy — and equal — competitors in the job market. 

Research suggests that if change continues at its current pace, equal pay will not occur until 2059, which is much too far into the future.

Reach the columnist at psaso@asu.edu and follow @paytonsaso on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the authors’ and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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