aimed at achievingequality for women in the work place, women continue to fall behind men inregards to pay and leadership positions.
This is despite the fact that womenhave equal or better educational credentials and offer comparable skill sets toemployers. A multitude of factors have led to the deficiency in pay, includingwomen having a tendency to choose to enter fields with lower salaries at higherrates than men, and their more prominent concern for work-life balance in orderto prioritize childcare obligations. However, another suspect exists thatgarners far less attention: often, women are not as effective at self-advocacyin the workforce as men are. Women may be fearful of the potential negativesocial consequences of ardent self-promotion, and this may lead to an inhibitionto negotiate which may result in women receiving significantly less pay for thesame work as men.
This instance of inequality dates back hundreds of years. Inmore recent years, the realization that women and men can generate the sameresults, obtain the same education, and have the same capabilities to completethe same tasks as men is becoming increasingly more popular. Colonial America was heavilyinfluenced by Christianity and its beliefs. The Bible supported the generalnotion that women were not as valuable as men.
The household jobs that womenheld in colonial and revolutionary eras, such as sewing, cleaning, and caringfor children and the sick, were seen as unskilled labor did not require anyspecific education or training, therefore interpreted as being worth less thanmen’s work. Women’s wages were considered supplementary income or pocket moneyand not substantial enough to maintain a household. Employers often determinedwages as much on financial needs of the worker as the value of the workproduced. With that policy in place, women rarely worked for wages.
If a wagewas set in place for a woman, all wages were given to her husband or fatherbecause women were not legally able to own property. In 1839, the MarriedWoman’s Property Acts was put into action. The act allowed women to ownproperty, both real and monetary. By 1895, every state had passed some versionof the statute. Regardless, societal standards were already cemented andcontinued to persist. A series of court decisions affirmed laws that couldtreat women differently for their own protection. This further reinforced thenotions that a woman’s first priority is being a good wife and mother, whichcontinued into the 20th century. Labor segregation is the prominentover- or underrepresentation of certain demographics (e.
g., sex, race) incertain types and levels of work (Brown). According to a study done by theUniversity of Manitoba, labor segregation can be seen in a university context,finding that men have a higher likelihood of being in a well-paid position whencompared to women either within or across institutions.
Men and women may berepresented differently at different institution types, showing that women arerepresented higher in lower paid universities. In any one institution, staffand faculty can be hired in differing instructor ranks or professorial ranks.Gender segregation revealed that women were predominately placed in lower paidinstructor ranks.
While segregation can be found in the differentrepresentation of men and women by discipline or faculty, it also appears inappointment type. Men typically obtain a tenure-track position and women have ahigher likelihood to be placed in term or contingent positions. On average, men earn significantlymore than women do in their lifetimes. Women’s general ineffectiveness atnegotiating a salary is just one contributing factor in this multi-facetedissue. The results of social science research reveal that women typicallyachieve less impressive outcomes from workplace negotiations of salary becausewomen tend to undermine the value of their skillset, they tend to hesitate moreto enter into negotiations from the beginning than men, especially so when saidnegotiation is characterized by a higher degree of structural ambiguity, andwomen tend to be more uncomfortable negotiating for themselves as opposed to onbehalf of others. The entitlement theory suggests thatwomen have a higher tendency to believe the notion that they are entitled toless compensation for their efforts than men, and negotiate with that notionaccordingly.
Paired with women’s lower expectations of compensation, studiesshow that men give a more outward appearance of confidence, thus increasingtheir credibility. Men also have tendencies to overestimate their abilitieswhen comparing themselves to others at a higher rate than women do, furtherinfluencing their salary negotiations. Some studies suggest that the gap inpay expectations between genders starts as early as high school, highlightingthat women tend to compare their expectations only to other women in theirimmediate peer group. This comparison continues after women are hired forentry-level positions (Karman). Forexample, one study done by Joyce Sterling at the University of Denver SturmCollege of Law, found that women lawyers often do not report all of theirbillable hours, thereby furthering gender salary inequalities.
It also followedwomen and men professionals at a major products company and concluded that,over time, men had the ability to improve their salaries by laterallytransferring to another company, whereas the same moves laterally by women didnot result in notable salary gains. Women tend to be less willing to enter into salarynegotiations than men are. This type of hesitance has measurable repercussions:women who do not negotiate their salaries have lower lifetime earnings onaverage than women who do negotiate their salaries. Only 7 percent of womengraduate students negotiated with potential employers for increased wages,which reflected in men’s salaries being 7.6 percent higher on average than women’s. This partially explains why the Equal Pay Acthas not been wholly effective in closing the gap between women’s and men’swages.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 “prohibits discrimination on account of sex inthe payment of wages and salaries by employers engaged in commerce or in theproduction of goods for commerce”