When you are living in a country that was built on the idea of equality for all, it seems bizarre that we are still having a hard time figuring out what that means over 240 years later. Since America declared its independence back in 1776, there has been a continuous problem with ensuring that women get the same opportunities as men. One of the most vocalized issues in modern days is the gender pay gap.
One of the most widely-known statistic about the pay gap is that women are paid only 76 cents for every dollar a man makes according to Payscale’s most recent data. While the 24 cent difference doesn’t really seem like the end of the world, it can add up to a substantial amount of money that you are not earning just because of your gender.
According to Payscale, the reason for this substantial pay gap is due to what they are calling the “opportunity gap.” Their research claims that at the beginning of their career, men and women tend to work similar level jobs. However, men are more likely to move up the ranks more quickly than women.
In fact, by the age of 60, women are more than 15 percent more likely to be working on the same level they started at than men. People in higher positions are known to make more money than those beneath them. With that in mind, it is clear to see how the lack of equal opportunities for women is affecting the pay gap.
Actress Jennifer Lawrence has been a known advocate for equal pay in Hollywood. In 2015 when Lawrence found out that she was paid significantly less than her male co-star in the movie American Hustle, she published an essay for Lenny Letter Newsletter titled, “Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co-Stars?”
More recently, BBC released an interview talking to Lawrence about her new movie “Mother!” During the interview, Lawrence was asked if she still believes Hollywood treats women unfairly.
“It think there is still a lot of unfairness. We are making changes, the gap is very slowly closing. But there is still work to be done,” Lawrence expressed.
And good news ladies, she isn’t wrong. The Census Bureau reported that women are slowly but surely closing up the pay gap, and saw the biggest income growth since 2007.
But that’s not all. Financier Steven Rattner reported that the female-male earnings ratio reached an all time high last year of 80.5 percent. which essentially means the average man earned $51,640 last year, while the average women earned $41,554.
However, this isn’t the case for all women. When the data is broken down by race, it shows that it is only White and Asian women that are thriving.
Annual wages for Hispanic women have shown no improvement, and African American women’s income has shown a decline according to the Census Bureau.
While the pay gap is closing, it is important that we keep pushing to insure that everyone, no matter what gender or race, is earning what they deserve.
We live in a country that is supposed function on the principle of equality, not just for some people, but for all.
Erin McNemar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org