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Gender Wage Gap, Myth or Real?

Republicans have blocked a vote on a bill which calls for equal pay in the workplace, saying it would make things tougher on businesses in a struggling economy. Among other things, the bill would require employers to prove any differences in pay are for reasons other than gender.


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For years we’ve heard how women earn less than men and in many cases for doing the same work. But attitudes have changed over the years. 

This is Archie Bunker in the 1970’s:

“They’re putting me on regular next week, but they’re paying me less than they paid the man who used to run the forklift.”

 “Oh come on now Irene? It’s a well-known fact that men are worth more than women.”

Sarah Crawford with the National Partnership for Women and Families says things have improved since the day of Archie Bunker, but says the wage gap still exists.

“Overall women are paid just 77 cents on the dollar paid to men who work full time full year.”

Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski is sponsoring a bill that calls for equal pay in the workplace. It has the support of the president and most Democrats.

But not everyone believes the pay gap is real. Some say it’s a myth, and say the reason men are paid more has more to do with the types of jobs they do and the hours they work than it does with discrimination. But Crawford says the statistics don’t lie.

“While bias still creeps into employment decisions in some ways it’s gotten more subtle over the years, perhaps it’s not as blatant as it was years ago.”

Archie Bunker: “In the Bible it says men are made in his own image. He made women after, from a rib, cheaper cut.”

Crawford says Texas women fare a bit better than the rest of the nation, but says African American women and Latinos make 58 cents on the dollar to what Texas men make.

She says that comes out to about more than $8,000 a year.

“A loss of over $8,000 could pay for over a year and a half worth of food, or ten more months of rent, and with the price of gas being so high these days, we tallied that up and found that it could cover over 2,000 gallons of gas.”

Other so called experts have studied the wage gap and say women are more likely to go into fields such as psychology, sociology and education, while men more likely to enter higher paying fields like computer science or business.

But regardless of whether the gap exists due to discrimination or legitimate reasons, Crawford says the gap is closing but at this rate, it’ll be four more decades before things even out.


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