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Paycheck for S(he)

Equal pay for men and women is often justified on moral grounds. But it makes total economic sense too.

Hajer Moumni

Naked Politics Blogger

Growing up, I was taught that whatever I wanted I had to work for. I rapidly became familiar to the thought that nothing really does come easy, whether you’re a man or a woman. However, I soon became accustomed to the concept of discrimination, specifically with regards to careers and salaries. The gender pay gap is something that has always evoked irritation within me, especially since I believe that if we were to abolish it, we would certainly find ourselves living in a far more optimal society.

In order to comprehend why something should be eliminated, one must understand it, as well as its causes. The gender pay gap as it is widely known, is the imbalance in monthly earnings among males compared to females. Reports showcase that female workers earn about 78% of what male workers earn both in the states and in the UK. Many employers justify the gender pay gap as nothing but a mere business tactic to reduce costs. They claim that females require more holidays and aren’t as hard working as male employees. In fact, studies show that it is not a matter of qualification for it has been proven that at every level of education, male workers still earn more although the are producing the exact same level of output as their female colleagues, thus male workers earn more for one reason: their gender. This is a problem that resides in practically every occupation, women earn less even in female-dominated jobs.

Aside from the fact that discrimination with wages is utterly unfair, reducing the gender pay gap may potentially have positive impacts on businesses, economies and society as a whole. According to Frederick Taylor (one of the first management consultants) wages have always been a dominating motivational factor amongst employees. It’s a rather simple equation; as motivation levels rise productivity consequently rises. If firms actually decide to equate pay for females, it would motivate the existing female work force to work harder and prove they are as qualified as male workers. This would make them more productive and in the long-run help the firm gain profits. Sure, companies would start off by increasing their costs on the short-run, but future productivity should allow them to think of this change in wage distribution as an investment in their labour rather than a loss.

Increasing female workers’ wages will also result in a positive impact amongst male workers. As male workers acknowledge female workers earn the same as them, they will work harder in order to earn raises and promotions; it would create a sense of beneficial competitiveness at work as well as make it a healthier work environment, cultivating a more productive workforce as a whole which will, in turn, serve as an advantage to businesses.

It is also worth noting that more females would be encouraged to seek employment. Levels of skills would increase amongst the workforce population due to the competitive market and firms would have a more productive and efficient work force. Efficiency, as well as an increase in the skill of the labour force is known to increase the aggregate supply of an economy, which would consequently lead to lower levels of inflation, greater levels of exports and economic growth on the long term. Many economists believe, losses in the short-run lead to a greater number of advantages in the long run.

The impact of diminishing the gender pay gaps on society mostly affect single mothers. In the US, 80% of children being raised by single parents are under the responsibility of single mothers, as opposed to fathers, making up about 9.6 million single mothers. If single mums were to earn more, chances are, they could afford high standard educational institutions, cultivating a more educated and equipped generation. Education reduces crime rates, which would lead to a better society, as well as higher standards of living, in the future.

How can we reduce the gender pay gap, you may ask? Well, for starters, women may need to negotiate more effectively and persistently when asking for raises. They should be more informed of their rights before accepting the contracts handed to them by employers. Policy makers working in the government could also consider improving the Equal Pay Act, which has been unchanged since 1963. Equal gender pay needs to be an enforced law and this needs to happen fast. “Since President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, the gap between men and women’s earnings has narrowed by less than a half-cent per year. At this rate, American women will have to wait until 2062 to bring home the same salary as their male counterparts.” (Jackie Speier, Huffingtonpost.com)

Businesses could conduct salary audits to make sure there aren’t any gender-pay inequalities they are unaware of. Individual members of society could start off by supporting the idea of equal pay and advocating its advantages rather than disadvantages.

Whether it be on a political, corporate, economic, or even individual level, the idea of equal pay rights should be supported by all, male and female. As Mike Honda once said “Equal pay isn’t a women’s issue; when women get equal pay, their family incomes rise, and the whole family benefits.”

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