Paper Essay on Gender Gap: How It Ties to Racism in the Workplace

Published: 2023-01-28
Paper Essay on Gender Gap: How It Ties to Racism in the Workplace
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  Racism Gender Discrimination Human resources Social issue
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1618 words
14 min read


Gender wage gap involves the average variation in remuneration between the working women and men. Historically, women are often paid less compared to men, but this variation has shifted to women of color. In the United States, there exist two numbers associated with the pay gap: adjusted and unadjusted. The adjusted relies on the number of hours worked, profession, and job experience. An employee who regularly takes time off will not likely earn as much as another person who does not take time off. The unadjusted remuneration has been cited to be 78 percent of the average men salary. The wage gap can also be assessed based on the ratio of men to women's average annual earnings. Earnings ratio of 81 percent shows that the gender gap for workers is 19 percent (DiPrete, Thomas, and Claudia 38). Despite the existing initiatives to ensure equal pay for all, there is still a long way before equal pay for women of color is realized. Race and gender wage variations affect the economic security of women together with their families, which, in the long run, adds to the substantial loses overtime. Gender wage gap ties to racism at the workplace because women of color earn 61 cents for each dollar that the Caucasian and non-Hispanic workers earn. To a large extent, women of color have experienced persistent and pervasive discrimination in relation to wages.

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Literature Review

Discrimination based on sex, race, job segregation, and inadequate policies leads to the wage gap. In the U.S, the gender earnings ratios for full-time employees, all-year-round tend to be lower compared to the ratio for the weekly earnings. This includes self-employed employees. When all employees with earnings are included, the earning gap increases because women are more likely than men to engage in part-time jobs or take time out of their normal paid work and manage other household chores. Over the last 10 years, women workers earn just 49 percent, which is less than half of what men earns. This was a wage gap of 51 percent between 2001-2015. The wage gap for weekly earning for the full-time employees expanded between 2017 to 2018. The ration of women to men in 2018 was 81.1 percent, which was a decrease of 0.7 compared to 2017. Women's average earnings for 2018 was $789 per week compared to $973 for men (Peetz, David, and Georgina 57). This means that there has been a persistent wage gape which continues to affect women, their families, and their economic development. The situation is particularly more damaging to women of color. Women of color who work full-time, all-year-round have been paid 61 cents less than the Caucasian women working in the same profession.

Women are more than half of the total workforce. At the same time, the majority are sole or co-breadwinner in most of the families in America. They are more educated than men because they receive more degrees compared to their men counterparts (Fox et al. 49). On average their wage pay is lower, and this calls for the need to introduce policies that can help realize equal pay for all. What derails the process are the existing historical experiences which have led to a massive range of economic disparities. A typical black family has just 5 percent of the total wealth and money owned by a white family (Opie, Tina, and Laura 703). This creates a ripple effect on the challenges women have relative to the job opportunities and overall quality of life. As a result of the legacy of discrimination based on race, women of color have been denied opportunities that the Caucasian women have. This hinders the way to power, which contributes to the pay gap and influences the leadership structure. The percentage of low-income employees making below $15 per hour are mostly women and disproportionally black women. This makes it challenging for these women to create a cushion and get off the wage treadmill and start their business entities.

Research by the National Women Law Center states that while the labor force has 13 percent of black women, about 18 percent of these women earn $11 or less each hour. About 29 percent of women of color work in service-sector which tend to have low wage and in many occasions are not given other benefits such as sick days and parental leave (Patton et al. 196). Affordable housing has also been pushed further away from this group. Even though black women choose to work in the low-wage occupations, it is difficult to discount the fact that they often enter the labor force with success. Majority of them are less likely to graduate from high school, let alone get a bachelor's degree. This places Women of color at disadvantaged position compared to the Caucasian who have a bachelor's degree (Haveman 76). This is, however, created by the policy frameworks that hinder black women from access quality education fundamental for entering professional fields.


Income inequality among black women has become a defining feature of the contemporary economy. Over the years, wage rates have grown slower than productivity for all employees except for the top 5 percent of employees. However, wage growth for the top 1 percent has continuously exceeded the rate of productivity (Merino 47). This means that the majority of employees have reaped few of the economic benefits they helped to achieve overtime because an uneven share of the benefits has been allocated to those at the top. Even though wage growth has affected all workers, the wage growth for women of color has been particularly slow. For this reason, there exists a huge pay disparity between women of color and their Caucasian counterparts.

The finding is that there exist no absolute black women economic narrative. The wage gaps have increasingly grown larger over the years. Nevertheless, the increase has not occurred in a straight line, nor has it affected all employees equally. The young black women fresh in the job market have fallen furthest behind the white counterparts since early 2000. At the same time, the work experience for older women continues to slowly insulate them from the fierce economic and structural factors linked to racial inequality (Maxwell 63). This shows that the majority of women of color are contented with their wages, either due to their economic situation or the existing social stereotype that women cannot join some occupations. Racial discrimination, racial diversity in unmeasured skills, and racial stereotype linked to women of color continue to be the most dominant cause for explaining the wage gap.

Variation in observable factors like education level and experience in a specific occupation is another leading contributor to the variations in wages among women. The differences in wage can be validated by the existing differences in education and experience and the fact that black women are more dominant in the south and urban areas (Hirsch 73). Even though the racial disparity in wages are lesser among women compared to men, the women of color are more disadvantaged when it comes to wage rates. The difference has narrowed over the years but remains significant. Just as there exist variations in racial wage gap based on gender, there are outlines within experience and education level that further discriminate against women. The reducing unionization has contributed to the increasing wage gap among women, specifically for those entering the job market (Treadwell 208). The unionization (membership and state union density) contributes to a fourth of the wage gap regardless of the experience or education level.


There has been a continuous discourse on the need to create equal wages for both men and women, regardless of their races. Despite the existing initiatives to ensure equal pay for all, there is still a long way before equal pay for women of color is achieved. Women are generally paid less than men in almost all professions, but the situation is worse when it comes to women of color. They are paid significantly lower rates compared to their Caucasian counterparts. This has been attributed to the education level and experience in the different occupations. There is also no doubt that the existing policies do not give women of color the needed platform to learn and acquire college degrees. This, to a large extent, ties the wage gap to racism because even in one occupation, women of color will receive 61 cents for each dollar their counterparts will earn. However, it is important to note that there have been some strides made by women and particularly women of color. They have moved into jobs and professions that were previously done by men. To other industries such as construction, there has been little to no progress in reducing the wage gap.

Works Cited

DiPrete, Thomas A, and Claudia Buchmann. The Rise of Women: The Growing Gender Gap in Education and What It Means for American Schools. , 2013. Internet resource.

Fox, Mary Frank, Kjersten Bunker Whittington, and Marcela Linkova. "Gender (in) equity, and the scientific workforce." Handbook of science and technology studies (2017).

Haveman, Robert H. Earnings Inequality: The Influence of Changing Opportunities and Choices. Washington, D.C: AEI Press, 1996. Print.

Hirsch, Boris. Monopsonistic Labour Markets and the Gender Pay Gap: Theory and Empirical Evidence. Berlin: Springer Verlag, 2010. Internet resource.

Maxwell, Angie. "Untangling the gender gap in symbolic racist attitudes among white Americans." Politics, Groups, and Identities 3.1 (2015): 59-72.

Merino, Noel. The Wage Gap. , 2014. Print.

Opie, Tina, and Laura Morgan Roberts. "Do black lives really matter in the workplace? Restorative justice as a means to reclaim humanity." Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion: An International Journal 36.8 (2017): 707-719.

Patton, Lori D., et al. "Why we can't wait:(Re) examining the opportunities and challenges for Black women and girls in education (Guest Editorial)." The Journal of Negro Education85.3 (2016): 194-198.

Peetz, David, and Georgina Murray, eds. Women, Labor Segmentation and Regulation: Varieties of Gender Gaps. Springer, 2017.

Treadwell, Henrie M. "Wages and Women in Health Care: The Race and Gender Gap." (2019): 208-209.

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