Are women still experiencing gender discrimination in income and employment positions?
The purpose of this research is to examine the gender pay-gap and the potential factors that contribute to income inequality. Since passing the Equal Pay Act the median weekly earnings of women is still just $0.72 for every dollar men earn. To put this in context the pay-gap in 1970 was $0.62 and in 1992 it was $0.75 (Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 1993). Secondary data analysis of the 2003 American Time Use Survey purports the potential reasons why the pay-gap still continues. This research employs an alternative income determination model with three component parts: the individual-level segment, which includes variables such as education and age; the structural-level segment, which includes variables such as hours worked per week, industry, and occupation; a gender-level segment, which includes variables such as sex, marital status, and with child under age six. Results indicate that, net of other factors, women earn $111.21 less per week than men in spite of having a higher percentage of college degrees and positions in white-collar high-skill employment. Analysis of the results suggests that there are two potential means by which the pay-gap can be reduced. Women are typically, either by choice or because they are forced, selected into gender homogenous positions such as education or healthcare that are devalued. Women therefore need to select positions that will generate a more heterogeneous employment structure and pursue occupations in typically male dominated areas. Additionally, the enactment of a Pay Equity Act could further restore the balance and redistribute income by evaluating positions based on the value of their work and not based on sex, race, or other personal/individual attributes.
Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, Dept. of Sociology.