TySince the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963, the wage gap between men and women has slowly begun to close
The difference in wages between men and women has existed for decades, with men almost always earning more than their female counterparts in the same fields. However, Kochhar’s report found that employers started looking for different qualities in employees between the years of 1980 and 2018, leading to an increase in female wages over the years.
“From 1980 to 2018, the average hourly wage of women increased 45 percent from $15 to $22, compared with an increase of 14 percent for men, from $23 to $26,” Kochhar wrote.
Kochhar looked at five important skills in jobs and specific career fields: social, fundamental, analytical, managerial and mechanical.
Looking at the correlation between different generations and employment, Pew Research Center studied how those five skills have evolved over the years and their importance in the workforce today.
From the baby boomer generation until the 2000s, employers were more focused on mechanical skills due to the type of jobs that were available. These skills produced tangible results and required physical work, which led to higher pay.
As time has gone on, and jobs have become more diverse, employers have begun to notice the importance of other skills, including social, fundamental, analytical and managerial.
Because of this, emphasis has been placed on receiving a college education and obtaining skills outside of physical labor. According to the report, occupations that rely on analytical and managerial skills have rapidly increased in wages and mechanical skills have decreased. The need for social skills in the workplace is also recognized more now than in previous decades.
Women have realized they are needed and their skills are valued in the workplace. Whether it is caused by cultural norms, or by a woman’s own decision, their skills are dependent on what they gravitate to and the same is true with men. When a person is passionate about a certain occupation, their skills align with that.
The study showed that throughout the course of history, men have taken on more mechanical jobs, mainly production, construction, extraction and transportation related jobs. But as time went on and the world modernized, the spotlight shifted toward the analytical and social skill focused jobs.
These are the occupations that women have picked up along the way. This is proven because between 1980 and 2018, men’s employment increased 30 percent in jobs that do not require as much social, fundamental and analytical skills.
Women on the other hand have had a 15 percent decrease in the occupations where these skills are least important. Women are picking up these important jobs that have not always been acknowledged.
Noticing the importance of nurses, accountants, managers, teachers and counselors has provided women with the opportunity to pave a way in the workforce and utilize the skills that were neglected by employers for so long.
Ann Greetham, a sophomore communication studies major, works at Fellowship Monrovia as a Kids Ministry Intern. She is also an admissions assistant at APU.
Greetham explained that while she has never experienced the wage gap in her work, she understands why it is an issue for so many people.
“A man could work with the same job title as me and make more, but that would be because it is based off of hours,” Greetham said. “There are differing responsibilities which may mean more time involvement in different areas and in turn means they’d make more money.”
According to Greetham, it is important to consider different factors besides just gender when looking at differences in wages.
“I marched in the LA Women’s march last year and I believe that people hang on to the wage gap but do not always look at additional factors, such as age, experience, qualification factors, maternal and paternal influences,” Greetham said.
While the wage gap still exists, it is important to look at the progress that has been made and the other elements that may be closing the gap.