Sample Research Paper On Equal Pay Between Men And Women
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We live in a world that is not ideal and both individuals and societies have to contend with numerous adversities at all times. In such a world there are some specific groups that have had to contend with worse as compared to other groups. One of the most sizable examples of such groups is women who claim having a lower status than men. The issue of gender inequality goes back centuries and has been the focal point of many national and international movements and research work. Despite all the progress that has been made in this regard, inequality is still rampant and is highly evident in the relative earnings of men and women. This prevails despite increased levels of education and greater labor participation from women in the economy.
Gender inequality exists in an overwhelming majority of the societies all around the world. The historical prevalence of this phenomenon can be judged from the Aristotle’s claim that women are incomplete males or alternately a deformity (Witt, Shapiro n.p.). But views on gender and femininity have come a long way from the Hellenic views but not so far as to remove all differences between men and women.in her essay Amartya Sen describes some of the forms gender inequality takes and establishes that gender inequality is not a homogenous phenomenon or occurrence. According to Sen Inequality can be mortality inequality, natality inequality, basic-facility inequality, special-opportunity inequality, professional inequality, ownership inequality and household inequality. Of these professional inequality is an easily observable phenomenon in even the most advanced societies and from it follows the issue of unequal incomes of men in women (Sen 35).
The professional lag of women can be attributed to various historical reasons. These reasons include both biological faculties and social roles. As the child bearers women have been assigned domestic roles since prehistoric times. But as the industrial revolution came about in the 18th century and demand for labor increased exponentially the inclusion of women increased also considerably. So all the progress women have made has mostly come about in the last 200 years or so. This seems like an impressive feat but the dividends that women have reaped with their greater inclusion in the economy are still less than what equally qualified men in similar positions reap.
According to statistics compiled by various organizations and agencies in America, the income disparity between men and women ranges from anywhere from 23% to 7% depending on the variables (Adams n.p.). This gap although not precise, is a cause of concern because it exists for equally qualified men and women working in similar roles. This means that even if all the variables that determine the salary of a person are the same for a man and a woman, the guy will earn more than the women. Given this situation in one of the largest and most developed and highly progressive nations in the world it is hard to be positive about the status and earnings of women in rest of the world.
The income disparity when aggregated over a life time can have serious consequences because women also tend to have more disruptions in their careers and hence their income over their lifetime is already less stable than that of men. Women have to go through multiple child births and each time their work life gets affected. Ideally women should be allowed to stay on payroll and keep earning while they labor and deliver but from an economic point of view their input to their place of employment is nonexistent during this time and hence it will be an onerous expense on the company’s behalf and hence a demotivation for the stakeholders employers. Further on, as the major responsibility of child rearing is also assigned to women it further adds to the hindrances in their employment and income potential (Loutfi 3). So holistically, unless there are appropriate measures in place women end up with shakier career paths and less income and savings. This presents a grave concern for families where women are the head by choice or by compulsion due to dead or absence of male family members. Also adversely affected by the income disparity are women who reach old age and have to rely on their savings and have insufficient state support. Having children who can be a potential support in old age makes it a necessity for women to have children but at the cost of professional and income consistency.
The choice of child bearing is highly significant on an individual level as it impacts the professional lives of women immensely but it also has serious macro repercussions. As illustrated by the example of Europe if women choose to reduce the number of children they bear it results in timely economic prosperity as the costs of child bearing and rearing are eliminated and women work without disruptions in their careers but as the work force retires the number of people to replace them are fewer which affects production and the costs of old age support tax the economy further (Belsie n.p.). This means that keeping the birth rate at a certain level is vital for a nation but it also makes it equally important for women to be maintained and compensated for the economic and personal costs they bear in child birth.
In light of the gravity of the issue of gender inequality it is important to take into account the various policies that have been formulated and interventions that have been conducted to address this issue. One important international effort is the inclusion of gender equality pursuit in the Millennium Development Goals (MGD). These are time bound and target bound goals formalized at the United Nation’s summit in 2000. The MDG regarding gender equality entails the closing of education gap between genders at all levels, increasing the share of women employment and increasing female political representation. In an essay Naila Kabeer does a critical analysis of this MGD (Kabeer 13). According to Kabeer acquisition of education as a resource has huge positive implications for women and this has been proven by incidents all over the world. Education increases the cognitive abilities as well as skills set of women leading to their empowerment. The writer also points out some flaws with the educational resource regarding the biased educational systems in different parts of the world and the prejudices perpetuated through the curriculum.
The second subset of the MDG aimed at increasing female employment is particularly instrumental in empowering women and improving their status. Increased female employment results in increased autonomy and ability to avoid abuse. Female employment has also been tracked as a factor driving nation growth and familial betterment. But this point is also the most problematic as when women venture out to work it exposes them to work related abuse as well as discriminatory treatment as employees. Most women in developing and underdevelopment countries end up working in informal and unregulated economies where their earnings and work related rights have no opportunity of being safe guarded. Positive outcomes of increased political representation have also been noted by the author but with accompanying obstacles and hindrances.
As Kabeer concludes in her essay and as can be followed from arguments presented in this essay it can be seen that women are making progress and gender equality has become a perceivable goal. But for gender equality to truly exist women have to take bolster the generalized efforts with their own mobility and initiative. This also stands in the case of earnings which have seen a gradual bridging of the gender gap but this process has to be expedited by women themselves and as a priority goal.
Adams, Susan. "Are Women Catching Up in Pay?" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 9 Apr. 2013. Web.
06 Feb. 2015.
Belsie, Laurent. "The Cost of Low Fertility in Europe." Nber.org. National Bureau of Economic
Research, July 2009. Web. 06 Feb. 2015.
Kabeer, Naila. "Gender equality and women's empowerment: A critical analysis of the third
millennium development goal 1." Gender & Development 13.1 (2005): 13-24.
Loutfi, Martha Fetherolf. Women, Gender and Work: What Is Equality and How Do We Get
There?. International Labour Office, 1828 L. Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036, 2001.
Sen, Amartya. "The many faces of gender inequality." New republic (2001): 35-39.
Witt, Charlotte, and Lisa Shapiro. "Feminist History of Philosophy." Stanford University.
Stanford University, 03 Nov. 2000. Web. 06 Feb. 2015.
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