Harris’sarticle talks about the pay inequality that still plagues women inthe employment sector. The column compares the struggle for payequality by women, to the civil rights movement. According to Harris,the majority of the people living below the poverty line are women.She states that the plight of women is ignored during the formulationof policies. Further, Harris says that women do not receive the samework-related benefits, in comparison to their male counterparts, yetthey still act as the primary caregivers in most American families.She states that minimizing the wage gap between men and women andalso increasing the minimum wage for women will go a long way ineradicating poverty (Harris, 2014).
Harris’spiece is a factual depiction of the state of pay discrimination thatis directed at women. According to 2015 research by the Institute forWomen’s Policy Research, women get more academic qualificationsthan men yet on average they earn 80 percent of what men in similarpositions earn. This problem spreads across almost all fields ofemployment and affects even women in the top levels of management.The problem appears worse for women who work in jobs that need mediumlevel skills since they earn 40 percent less than what their malecounterparts make. The research notes that efforts to correct theissue have been painstakingly slow (Harris, 2014).
Theopinion piece is fascinating because of various reasons. One, itcompares the plight of women to the civil rights movement that wasled by Dr. Luther King. Even though this seems like an exaggeration,it works well in capturing the attention of the reader. Additionally,the author makes use of statistical data to give authority to hertext. She does not make generalized assumptions on the basis of heropinion because the information targets specific groups. Also, Harrisdevelops a systematic argument built on a captivating introductionfollowed by statistical data before concluding with a compellingargument for her article (Harris, 2014).
Accordingto 2015 data from the United States Census Bureau women haveexperienced minute changes concerning wage discrimination since 2007.However, the study notes that the salary difference has improvedsince the seventies because of the following factors. One, more womenare receiving an education. Two, the number of women in places ofwork has risen. Three, the salaries of men have not increaseddrastically during the period. Despite the gains, the US CensusBureau highlights that women will receive pay equal to men in theyear 2059 if the improvement matches the progress that occurredbetween 1960 and 2015 (Miller, 2016).
However,with the current rate, the wage difference will be corrected in theyear 2152. The difference in pay is even worse when it comes to blackwomen and other minorities (even those with substantialqualifications). Data retrieved from the US Census Bureau shows thatHispanic women are likely to earn the least among minority groupsfollowed by African American women. However, the informationindicates that all the groups of women receive less than theirrespective male counterparts. Moreover, the pay gap seems to increasewith age. Studies by the American Association of University Womenshows that the gender pay gap increases with a corresponding increasein the age of the workforce (Miller, 2016).
Asseen in the preceding paragraphs, education has played a crucial rolein correcting the gender pay gap. However, if one looks at laborstatistics they then realize that the higher the level of education,the higher the wage distance between men and women. The salary gapmeans that women end up accumulating student debt that they cannotpay at the same rate as men. Information from the Department ofEducation shows that only 33 percent of women were able to pay offthe full amounts of their student loans. On the other hand,forty-four percent of men had paid off their loans. This means thatwomen spend more time during their life paying off debts (Miller,2016).
Theassumption that some jobs are meant for men while others are forwomen does not help the pay disparity situation. Even when womenobtain the relevant qualifications, they enter a male dominated fieldwhere they receive less pay when compared to the men. Women have comea long way in realizing salary equality in America. However, thedecline in progress over the recent years sets the precedence for aworrying trend. Many people hold the assumption that equality betweenmen and women has been achieved since there are numerous womenholding positions of power. For example, Hillary Clinton is on thepath to the White House (if she wins the election).
ChristineLagarde sits at the helm of the International Monetary Fund whileMarissa Mayer heads Yahoo. Since statistics show that seventy percentof persons living in poverty in the US are women and children, theformulation of policies to reduce wage disparity will significantlycontribute to the reduction of poverty within the US. Also, women arestill the primary caregivers within America. Empowering women throughequal pay will give them the opportunity to translate the benefits totheir families. Families will eat balanced diets, and young girlswill be motivated to seek similar opportunities as boys in life andsociety will have made strides in promoting equality.
Harris,M. (2014). Forwomen, equal pay is a civil rights issue.CNN.Retrieved 28 October 2016, fromhttp://edition.cnn.com/2014/01/20/opinion/harris-women-jobs-shriver-report/
Miller,K. (2016). TheSimple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Fall 2016).AAUW:Empowering Women Since 1881.Retrieved 28 October 2016, fromhttp://www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/