Since the 1970s, the women’s movement in the United States and other parts of the world reached several milestones. Many industries, companies and governments have given women equal opportunities and benefits as those given to men. For many women in the United States, the possibilities are endless, though there are still things that need improvement. For them there are still lingering issues that need an answer.
Is There a Gender Wage Gap?
Though some companies and industries pay men and women equally, there are still industries and businesses that do not do so. In 2017, surveys by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Census Bureau revealed that women across the US were paid 78 percent compared to 80 to 98 percent of their male colleagues.
Though it is against the law to discriminate based on sex, there are still industries that do not give equal pay. Recently, the female US soccer team filed a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation alleging that the female soccer players were only paid 38% of what the men’s team made. The Federation and the Women’s Team hired corporate litigation lawyers and went into mediation to make a compromise last March.
But there are other factors why men earn more than women. For one, men tend to work more hours. Second, maternity leaves can take chunks out of a woman’s time, and many women often choose jobs that give them more time for their family.
Job choice is the most significant factor affecting the earnings gap. Women are less likely to work in the STEM fields, high-risk jobs, or in positions of power that may require them to devote more time to their work. Many women prefer a balance between career and family, and women like writer Candace Bushnell (of Sex and the City fame) regret devoting more time on their careers.
Is There a Pink Tax?
Do products for women cost significantly higher than those for men? The answer is yes and no. The truth is, any product that caters to gender-specific needs or demands can cost higher than a generic product that caters to all. For example, women’s hygiene products can be expensive, but men’s clothes and shoes could be more expensive than women’s clothing.
When it comes to a product like shampoo, the price is dictated by what’s inside the bottle. Women’s products tend to use organic and herbal ingredients that may be more costly. But men’s products often use strong chemicals that are more effective for male skin. Products targeted at women cost more because of what they contain.
In any case, women do not have to buy products for women; they can buy a generic version of any product that both sexes can use. But marketing is a powerful thing; demand and advertising can make “pink” products more appealing to women, even if they cost more than generic brands.
Are There Still Glass Ceilings?
There are now more women than ever working in any business or industry. There are female CEOs, judges, astronauts, and politicians, but there are still significantly more men than women in the boardroom, parliament, or any country’s government. The glass ceiling may have been broken decades ago, but women still have to work harder than men to prove their worth.
A recent survey by Hive on the State of the American Workplace revealed that women were given 10 percent more work than men, largely menial tasks that did not lead to a promotion. Though women worked harder than men, they were vastly underrepresented in the boardroom.
There are still glass ceilings that need to be broken, and it seems many women are willing to take the risk and make their mark. But men and women need to agree that there are glass ceilings to shatter, instead of ignoring what the other half of the population is saying.
We can say that there has never been a better time for women than today, but women and men need to remind each other that gender equality could never have been done by women alone. It required the help of men who saw the world beyond gender.