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One of the most talked-about topics in our society is the wage gap. It’s unfair and inexcusable that our society would even consider paying men more than they do women. However, the gap is not as real as we all think it is. 

According to Robin Schwartz, the managing partner for MFG Jobs, “What skews the wage gap is the difference in professions between men and women.”

The media likes to promote the story that men and women are paid drastically different average annual salaries, but they rarely take into account the professions of those individuals.

A man who is working as a chemist is bound to make more than a woman working as a teacher. There is no denying this fact, as someone in a more difficult job should be making more than someone in an easier one. That is why the general assumption “men get paid more than women” is incorrect. If it were fully true, a male custodian would make more than a female professor. This is not the case.  

The amount of experience you have and how much time you are willing to commit the company determines how much a person makes, period.

 According to a Fast Company article, “A person with a lot of prior work experience often ends up getting more money than someone just beginning her career. If the company is trying to attract the experienced person from a competitor, then the company has to beat that individual’s previous salary.” 

For the sake of this argument, let’s assume that a man and a woman both must get hired at a marketing firm. The man has worked with three different companies and has experience within the field while this is the woman’s first job in the industry. As the individual who has been in the field longer proves more profitable and is more valuable to the company, they deserve to make more. This argument works regardless of the gender of the individual with experience.  If the woman had more experience than the man, she would have ended up getting paid more. 

It has been suggested that women willingly choose lower-paying jobs than men. This isn’t because of education, it’s just a pattern. The National Organization for Women recalls this statistic:

“It was found that women earned 82 percent of what the men earned, with similar education and experience as their male counterparts. 10 years after graduation, those women were only earning 69 percent of what the men were earning. After accounting for occupation, hours worked, age, college major, and many other factors, an astonishing seven percent difference between the earnings of women and men was left unaccounted for within a year of graduation and a 12 percent unexplained difference was found within 10 years.”

The Atlantic suggests that this may be caused by fields of work being dominated by one gender. They found that “many certificate programs are still dominated by one gender to a surprising extent. Ninety-four percent of welding certificates went to men in the last academic year, and 95 percent of cosmetology certificates went to women, an analysis of data provided by the U.S. Department of Education shows.”

According to www.learnhowtobecome.org, some female dominated careers includes nurse practitioners, preschool/kindergarten teachers and waitresses. On the flip side, according to chron.com, some male-dominated careers consist of car sales, construction workers/mechanics and professional sports. 

So, the wage gap may exist in our society but it is not as hostile or as intentional as our society makes it out to be. 

There are many logistical factors that lead to men getting paid more than women which suggests that companies (or the world for that fact) do not intentionally pay their male workers more than their female workers.  

In an article by the HuffPost, two possible solution are to increase the minimum wage and to have all states pay for family leave. The article recalls says two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women. Raising it would help women, but it would also benefit men, leaving room for more arguments. In terms of paid family leave, there are only three states that have passed it. While it sounds like an amazing thing, some companies don’t have the resources for it. Money is a priority and it is not in every company’s best interest to lose some.