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Equality in College and Beyond

Last Thursdays lecture inspired me to write a blog on the topic of equality of the sexes in the workplace. Not specifically why women don’t occupy the higher positions within large companies, instead I wanted to look further into the income gap and what may be causing it. I searched our textbook for more insight that wouldn’t be skewed by the media or biased in favor of men. After reading the article, “Too Many Women in College?” by Phyllis Rosser I was pretty surprised at a lot of the facts. I found it very strange that women are obtaining a majority of the undergraduate degrees (57.4%) and even more of the master’s degrees (59%) but yet men are still earning the more advanced degrees for business, engineering and computer-science, all of which tend to lead to higher paying jobs. The article points out that degrees in education, health and psychology don’t lead to as high of paying jobs but for some reason these are the degrees where women are predominating. Of course there is no one answer to solve the problem of equality of the sexes, especially at the corporate level, but I definitely feel that if women were informed of these numbers they may choose different undergraduate and graduate degrees.
However, all things being equal, if a man and a woman share the same academic achievements and skill sets why should the man be paid more for the same job? The only way I can begin to understand this is by acknowledging something we talked about in lecture on Thursday. Maybe women don’t really know their worth and because of that they choose not to negotiate for higher pay on their own behalf. If this is the case it seems appropriate that more emphasis be taken at the college level to educate both sexes equally of their value to potential employers.
I still find it hard to believe that so many companies have the ability to dodge the question, or at the very least, fail to give good enough answers as to why women are being paid only 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts are paid. This all seems so archaic to me. Clearly something needs to be done. Even before taking this class I would be able to recognize how incredibly unfair this is. If the tables were turned, and women were being paid nearly 27 cents more for every dollar that a man earned, I (as well as every other man) would be demanding that something be done to “right the ship”.


4 Comments

  1. ninazm21 says:

    I had the same questions after class and I too choose to write a post about it. The 77 cents figure does not paint an accurate picture. The 77 cents for every dollar a man makes is based on the median average income and does NOT take into consideration occupation, college major, or hours worked. That figure is based on what the average women’s salary in america is vs the average mans salary. When occupation, hours worked, and college major are considered a women makes 93 cents to the dollar that a man with same credentials(same position, hours worked, and major) makes. The problem then becomes the discrimination woman who choose the more lucrative positions face.

    • rwhensle says:

      I see your point. However, I still don’t see the equality in a woman earning 93 cents for every dollar a man makes.

      • ninazm21 says:

        There is no equality in a women earning 93 cents for every dollar a man makes. I only mentioned that because i found out earlier today that 77 cent statistic was misleading in the context I was using it in and from your post the context you thought it belonged in. But dont get wrong, there are probably many cases where women make far less than 93 cents for equal work I have a few personal examples where that is the case. Honestly, I don’t think the statistics paint an accurate picture of the discrimination women face in the workplace.

  2. abergesk says:

    I like your point about how woman are getting more degrees in education, health and psychology. I am in computer science and can tell you first hand there are barely any woman in my classes. With this being one of the best degrees to earn for the current/future economy, you would think there would be a lot more people wanting this degree (both men and women), but it seems like the ratio of men to women is about the same (we discussed this in my other classes). One factor that was mentioned was that early on, teachers push the girls towards those “easier” fields and away from engineering and computer based degrees.

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