Using a Sociological Approach “The narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay”

Using a Sociological Approach “The narrowing, but persistent, gender gap in pay”

Sociology 100

What are the key findings of the research and the conclusions?

The findings of the research determined that the gender gap in pay has narrowed since 1980. The findings show that in 2015, 83% of what men earned was earned by women. This was according to the analysis of hourly earnings of both full and part-time workers in the U.S. , In order for women to earn what men did in 2015 they would have to work and extra 44 days.
The approximated 17 cent gender pay gap for all workers in 2015 has narrowed, from 36 cents in 1980. For younger adults between the ages of 25-34 the wage gap is even smaller. Women is this age group earned 90 cents for every dollar a man in this same age group earned. This is a wide range as during the 1980 research, they secured 67% of what their male counterparts earned, compared to the 90% in 2015. In the article they point out that women had interruptions in their careers to care for family which can have an impact on long-term earnings. Four-in-ten mothers took a significant amount of time off (39%) or reduced their work hours (42%) to care for a child or other family members. Where around 27% stated they quit work altogether to care for familial responsibilities. Only 24% of fathers stated they had taken a significant amount of time off to care for a child or other family member.

Conflict theory

Control of the economy enables the economic elite (men) to maintain their position at the top of society and to keep those at the bottom in their place (women). Work is often alienating, and the workplace is often a site for sexual harassment and other problems.

This theory suggest that social problems occur when the dominant group mistreats the subordinate ones, and push for a balance of power between the genders. Therefore, women seem to have less power than men in the workplace.

Men, like any other group with a power or wealth advantage in Conflict Theory, fought to maintain their control over resources. Conflict between the two groups caused things like the Women’s Suffrage Movement and was responsible for social change. According to this theory, society is in essence defined by a struggle for dominance among social groups that compete for available scarce resources. In relation to gender, it argues that gender is best understood as men attempting to maintain power and privilege to the disadvantage of women, therefore, men are seen as the dominant group while women are seen as the subordinate group.


Even though women have an increase in higher paying jobs that are traditionally dominated by men, like managerial positions, women are still overrepresented in lower paying occupations, which contributes to gender differences in pay. In the 2013 survey, women were twice as likely as men to say they had been discriminated against at work due to their gender, 18% of women and 10% of men feel they were discriminated against at work due to their gender. 77 % of women and 63% of men said “this country needs to continue making changes to give men and women equality in the workplace,” according to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey.

Suggestions on how to address the problem.

Raising women’s pay. We can shrink the wage gap by lifting up the salaries of women in low-wage jobs, making it easier for women to enter high-paying careers, and ensuring that women don’t take a financial hit for being parents. Women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to men — and for women of color, the wage gap is even larger. It’s long past time to close the gap. The Equal Pay Act has been the law for more than 50 years — but the wage gap remains. It’s time to take action to fight pay discrimination. Women of every race are paid less than men, at all education levels — and it only gets worse as women’s careers progress.

Raising the minimum wage would help close the wage gap. By lifting wages for the lowest-paid workers, raising the minimum wage would likely narrow the range of wages paid to workers across the economy—and because women are the majority of workers who would see their pay go up, the wage gap would narrow as well.

Additional research to help women reach equal pay.

Strengthen our equal pay laws so that women have the tools they need to fight back against pay discrimination.

Build ladders to higher-wage jobs for women by removing barriers to entry into male-dominated fields.

Lift up the wages of women in low-wage jobs by raising the minimum wage and ensuring that tipped workers receive at least the regular minimum wage before tips.

Increase the availability of high-quality, affordable child care.

Help prevent and remedy caregiver discrimination, and protect workers from pregnancy discrimination.

Establish fair scheduling practices that allow employees to meet their caregiving responsibilities and other obligations.

Provide paid family and medical leave and paid sick days.

Ensure women’s access to the affordable reproductive health care they need.

Protect workers’ ability to collectively bargain.


Every person has some form of human capital, in the skills, knowledge, and experience possessed by an individual or population, viewed in terms of their value or cost to an organization or country. Being a woman does not justify gender discrimination in pay. As it turns out, women are one of the most powerful investments we can make in building a better future.

The Ripple Effect Changes the World

Earlier this year, Bill and Melinda Gates wrote a letter to Warren Buffett highlighting some of the major insights they have discovered over their years investing in the developing world and building the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In it, they wrote, “All lives have equal value is not just a principle; it’s a strategy. You can create all kinds of new tools, but if you’re not moving toward equality, you’re not really changing the world. You’re just rearranging it. When women have the same opportunities as men, families and societies thrive. Obviously, gender equity unleashes women’s potential, but it also unleashes men’s potential.”

And this is the true secret of investing in women.

Exploring the Sustainable Development Goals Empowered Women Change
the World
Retrieved 10 December 2017, from

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