Myths surrounding pay gap need clearing up in light of recent House resolutions

6 months ago
Brooke Lopez
Op-ed

The gender pay gap is real. Women are consistently earning less money than men even when they have the same qualifications.

In a political era filled with uncertainty and turmoil, now is the time to stand unified against an issue that matters to every woman. Contact your representative and tell them to support the passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 862/H.R. 1619) and the Pay Equity for All Act (H.R. 6030). 


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As of 2015, women are paid 80 cents for every dollar men earn, which is exponentially greater than what women earned comparatively in 1960. This is largely due to women’s progress in both education and workforce participation, said Kevin Miller, a senior research analyst for the American Association of University of Women. If everyone is satisfied with the amount they earn without taking others’ earnings into consideration, why does a movement exist to even out pay between men and women?

The consequences of the gender pay gap span farther than annual income earnings. Women received less monetary benefits from Social Security, pensions and life insurance as well as incur higher amounts of student debt. The amount of money earned today will affect livelihood beyond retirement. Today is the day we debunk the myths related to the gender pay gap.

Women of a racial minority, a specific age and those who have a disability earn far less than their male counterparts. It is silent discrimination at its finest.

There are three different factors that heavily influence the explanation as to why the gender pay gap exists: occupation, education and parenthood. If a man chooses to search for a career in the engineering field while a woman chooses to hold employment as a teacher, there will be an obvious discrepancy in pay. However, the argument of occupation should focus on comparing men and women within the same career such as male teachers versus female teachers.

Men still receive more income than women in male-dominated positions. Therefore, the belief that the occupational cause for the gender pay gap can be “solved” with women actively pursuing careers in historically male-dominated fields is a myth.

In a data study conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, women will continually receive less than men even with higher education tracts, making education another factor influencing the gender pay gap. Just because women pursue a higher educational degree does not mean they will receive a higher income.

The final factor used to explain the gender pay gap is family life. Women with children are at a disadvantage as employers are less likely to hire mothers due to an unsubstantiated fear of losing valuable work time to motherhood. Miller states in his research that women receive a “motherhood penalty” where pay may be diminished while men receive a “fatherhood bonus” which can include a promotion, special privileges or a monetary addition to their income.

Essentially, there is no valid reason as to why men and women earn different incomes for doing the same job. Gender discrimination and bias is the only true cause of the gender pay gap.

The State of Texas ranks 26th out of all the states in terms of equal pay with women bringing in 79 percent of what men bring in annually, Mille said. This percentage is not only lower than the national average but this is also not consistent across the state.

Women in District 36, which includes all of Newton, Jasper, Tyler, Polk, Orange, Hardin, Liberty and Chambers counties, plus portions of southeastern Harris County, earn only 64 percent of what men receive income-wise. This pay gap is tied with the last-ranked state of Wyoming. Women nearby are receiving less funds than men. Imagine telling your mother, sister or daughter that she will only be worth 64 percent of the average American man’s abilities.

Consider the reaction and conversation that must ensue when you explain to your friends, loved ones, students and coworkers that women won’t amount to their male counterparts. You hold the value of America’s income in your hands.