gap, we can reduce half of all poverty for families that have at least one working woman andfor employed women who live alone (Martinelli). Living above the poverty line can make a difference in the higher education one can afford, as well as their healthcare, children’s school district, and the safety of the neighborhood they live in. Many do not realize that pay equality among men and women could positively impact the United States economy. The amount women would gain if they were given equal pay would contribute to our annual gross domestic product, and make a significant difference in our economy. The signing of the Equal Pay Act may have been the start to reducing the gender wage gap, but is not the only influence contributing to the solution. One factor that has made a big impact over the years is women’s access to higher education. In today’s society, women are more likely to attend college and receive higher degrees than men. Thirty-six percent of young women have received bachelor’s degrees, compared with twenty-eight percent of men (Carnevale and Smith). This increase in women’s education has helped reduced the wage gap ratio by seven percent. Unfortunately, this improvement alone cannotclose the wage gap. In the current job market, women need additional degrees to compete with men’s pay. For example, if a woman has a graduate degree, this means that over the 4
Donaldsoncourse of her lifetime, she will have made approximately the same amount as a male with a bachelor’s degree (Farrell and Glynn).One of the main influences contributing to pay inequality is the stigma that women cannot do the same job as men. Many have this preconceived idea that women have too much on their plate, trying to raise a family and take care of the house hold, causing them tonot be able to work full time or the same amount of hours as a man would. This stereotype that women have to fill the roles as the caregivers and cannot keep up in a fast paced career is absurd. In this day and age, many men are now filling these roles and helping out at home, gender barriers are slowly being challenged by men and women. Another claim is that the wage gap is due to women choosing lower paid occupations such as education, retail, or waitressing. One would argue that in our culture, women are influenced at a young age by parents, teachers, and peers about what they should study and what occupations are suitable for them. These outside influences that affect girls in adolescence, can persuade the decisions they later make about their future careers. These gender stereotypes not only influence the careers women choose, but also have an effect on the dollar amount we place on certain jobs. An elementary school teacher developing the minds of our children, gets paid less than someone developing videogame software.