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The Gender Wage Gap. Do Women Really Merit Equal Salaries?

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Slowly but surely the gender pay gap has reduced in recent times but still females workers in most workplaces earn considerably less than their male counterparts. Earlier women received almost half or a little more than half of what the men earned but this has grown to around three-fourths of male earnings, but there is no reason why women should receive less, even though they fulfill their job requirements equally well. Supporters of women welfare programs and government surveys agree that a gender-based wage disparity exists.

But some still prefer to believe that it is a women's choice of job which determines her low wages and not the accepted belief that employers discriminate wages on the basis of gender.

In In spite of the fact that women do not lag behind in academic achievements and are equal to their male counterparts and also are able to do jobs assigned to them with equal ability, yet, for reasons strange to understand, by no means, pay differences continue. One reason it seems, why pay differences persist, is that there is continued occupational separation and some occupations are seem as the sole preserve of males, whilst, others like nursing are seen as a women's domain.

However, the gender pay-gap is even more palpable in high paying jobs that normally attract 6 figure salaries. It is estimated that for every ten men who earn salaries in excess of $100,000, there were only 3.6 women who matched their income.

Analysts feel that women workers, who prefer to work in traditionally male dominated fields, will be paid less than them. However, the gap changes with the area of work. The gap is widest in finance and insurance where women averaged around 62.2 percent of their male counterpart's pay.

But in real estate rental and leasing and in construction, the salaries were almost on par with the men, the difference being a mere 7 to 8 percent.

People who say that women deserve to be paid lesser than men argue that they are paid less because they chose less-demanding professions and their schedules are likely to be less tough. However, their lesser earnings are compensated because they lead happier and healthier lives.

Is there any way this gap can be abridged. The women have to take matters in their own hands and provide proof that they are worthy equals and merit the same salaries as their male counterparts.

Women get special skills, upgrade their existing competencies and move to higher paying jobs. Moreover, they can even talk to their bosses, with a lot more confidence and assertiveness and demand pays that commensurate with their workplace contributions.

Last but not the least, they can push their elected representatives to amend existing laws, so that there is less gender pay discrimination and leave employers with no choice but to pay fair wages.

Women would do well to know that under the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, if they find that they were receiving discriminatory pay, they can sue and receive compensation, even after 6 months of leaving their jobs. This law was signed by President Barack Obama in 2009.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act has been amended by the Equal Pay Act (29 U.S.C. § 206(d)) making discrimination on the basis of gender in the payment of wages or benefits, for men and women doing similar work, under similar working conditions, against the law.
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