Income Disparities of women in the Workplace The existence of male-female income and gender discrimination in the workplace has been noted in countless countries. Over the past few decades, laws barring discrimination in education and employment have helped give workingwomen many opportunities that our mothers never had. Because of these opportunities, women began working in many different fields, each requiring different skills and experience with different pay wages. Although these opportunities has opened many doors for working women all over the world, the doors for pay discrimination still remains tightly shut for women in the workplace. While significant progress has been attained in furthering gender discrimination between men and women in the workplace, countries such as the United Stated and Japan still seems to be reluctant, to grant true income equality in towards women compared to their male counterparts. Thirty years ago women earned just over half the pay of their male counterparts.
This was supposed to be resolved with the passage of the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963. Under this act, employers must pay women the same as men for work that is ‘substantially equal.’ Additionally, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which covers employers with 15 or more workers, prohibits pay differences based on gender and bars discrimination against women in hiring, promotion, training, discipline and other job aspects. Despite the existence of such laws, unfortunately workingwomen continue to earn less than men. It’s extremely obvious that women have come a long way in the labor force ever since the 19 th century. At present time, women account for nearly half the nation’s workforce, but due to pay discrimination there has been a wage gap that does not seem to close between men and women.
For instance, the typical workingwomen in Japan earns 63 percent of the average man’s pay. While in the United States, the average American woman earns about 74 cents for every dollar the average man earns. In comparing these figures, Japanese women are at even more of a disadvantage in the workplace than their peers in the United States. As stated above, laws have been in placed for years that strictly prohibit any type of discrimination in the workplace.
So why does the wage disparity persist? In Japan, it is because of traditional expectations that women marry young and devote themselves to child rearing. This factor is always usually the case with Japanese women, however number of women who continue careers after marriage is growing, but companies have been slow to accommodate their needs for child care or maternity leave. In The Detroit News Journal, Yuko Fu kawa of the women’s bureau at the Labor Ministry states, “Japanese management is entirely centered around men. It’s almost impossible for women to keep their full-time jobs as soon as they have children, because there is virtually no corporate support” (web).
In Western industrialized countries such as the United States, the more education women receive the more likely they are to work. However, in Japan, it is interesting to note that education does not seem to be a determining factor when it comes to promotions and or high salaries compared to male counterparts. For example, many female graduates from universities faced a series of difficulties in locating employment as compared to similarly qualified male graduates. Offers of employment received by women were simply not equal. Another reason why Japanese women earn less that their male counterparts is because of employers sometimes use provisions designed to protect female workers under the Japanese Labor Standards Law (Law No. 49 of 1947, as amended; ‘LSL’), a Japanese law prohibits women from working between 10 p.
m. and 5 a. m… Although women are rising to the top of the labor force, unfortunately at the present time, business is a man’s realm in Japan. In comparing with Japan, the number of workingwomen in the United States has also increased rapidly and still continues to grow steadily. Just like in Japan, many women take time off to have families, which creates income difference among genders.
However, even when studies factor in variables such as children, they still find that women earn at least 20 cents less than men. So why does this wage gap still carry on? According to financial advisor Ray Martin from CBS news “leaving a job can result in not only a loss in salary, but often puts women at the end of the line for promotions, and thus the chance to earn more, as well. While Ray Martin does make a rational statement on the matter of women who tend to leave their jobs for the purpose of family, it still does not explain why the average 25-year-old workingwoman will lose $523, 000 to unequal pay during her working life according to AFL-CIO statistics Other common explanations for the increasing wage gap are that most women are still working the traditional “female” jobs such as secretaries, teachers, and nurses whereas construction work, engineering, and doctor’s, are considered “out of our reach” and men’s jobs. However, Business Week reported on a study that compared the salaries of single white men and women between the ages of 20 and 40 (Ko retz, 1990). When they factored out schooling, industry, skill level and work experience, the women still earned 91% of men’s salaries. (Without factoring these out, women earned 86% of men’s salaries.
). Another reason for the wage gap in the workplace is due to experience and education. An American Demographics study found that women working full time with two or fewer years of experience earn 72% of men with the same experience. In the article ‘Three Decades After the Equal Pay Act, Women’s Wages Remain Far From Parity, Rignon, Joan, states if women were men with the same credentials, they would earn about 18 percent more.