Sarah S. California

The Wage Gap: Not just about Gender

The "80 cents to every white man's dollar" excludes women and men of other races.

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Dear Future President,

I am writing this letter to bring to light an important and often overlooked issue that plagues female Americans today: the wage gap. While it is true that the wage gap is becoming smaller every year, and in 2015, the average difference was only that of 20%, the commonly-referenced “80 cents to every man’s dollar” only rings true for most white women. For women of color, the difference between the white man’s dollar and their pay is even greater.

2013 statistics report:

White    $1.00
Black     $0.75
Latino    $0.67
White    $0.78
Black     $0.64
Latina    $0.54

Some of the main arguments that people use to undermine calls for equal pay include: “women (of any race) tend to gravitate towards jobs that pay less or they have lower levels of education.”

This of course, is true for some women, but definitely not all. Women who choose careers that do not pay very much or women with less education than men should account for a small percentage (anywhere from 1%-4%). The gap should definitely not be as high as 20%.

It has been stated that women in STEM careers were sparse and this had more to do with women choosing other careers than it had to do with redlining. One study by Corinne Moss-Racusin, a social psychologist at Skidmore College, proved otherwise. “In their study, Moss-Racusin and her colleagues created a fictitious resume of an applicant for a lab manager position. Two versions of the resume were produced that varied in only one, very significant detail: the name at the top. One applicant was named Jennifer and the other John. Moss-Racusin and her colleagues then asked STEM professors from across the country to assess the resume. Over one hundred biologists, chemists, and physicists at academic institutions agreed to do so. Each scientist was randomly assigned to review either Jennifer or John's resume.” (Watts) The results were as follows: due to viewing the Jennifer applicant as less competent, the scientists involved in the study were less willing to mentor or hire her and those who were willing, offered her an average of $4000 salary less than that offered to John.

Another common argument is that the 1963 Equal Pay Act made the wage gap illegal, and thus, the alleged “wage gap” does not exist. You know what’s illegal? Meth. You know what people still do? Meth. Case closed. [courtesy of Tumblr user boyquail]

There is no doubt that the Equal Pay Act is slowly but surely closing the wage gap (some say by 2058 but we will see) but what really needs to happen is not a promise that the future will be better, but change right now to make those promises a reality. Let this be the generation that stops passing the buck and finally close the pay gap for all races.


Sarah S.


"Pay Equity & Discrimination." — IWPR. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.

"The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap (Fall 2016)." AAUW: Empowering Women Since 1881. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.

"The Wage Gap by Gender and Race." Infoplease. Infoplease, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.

Watts, Alexander W. "The Clayman Institute for Gender Research." Why Does John Get the STEM Job Rather than Jennifer? N.p., 02 June 2014. Web. 01 Nov. 2016.

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