Weary Wages

By Sydnie Stout


Throughout our modern society, there has always been the recurring theme of men dominating the economic and social world. Women have had to fight a raging struggle by working harder to earn only a percentage of what men make. Living in a world where men make more money gives them an opportunity to become dominant and take advantage of those around them. Is this truly fair? Should women be paid the same amount? Do women actually work harder than they’re portrayed? For decades, women have been determined to prove themselves worthy and have gone to incredible lengths in order to make a name for themselves.  Equality has been definitely rising, and don’t get me wrong, it’s improved tremendously from where it began and a woman’s only place was in the kitchen (according to men). But wouldn’t you think that equality would have reached its peak by now?

You’ve probably heard the quote, “for every dollar a man makes a woman makes…” Well let’s put that into perspective. For every dollar a man makes in America, a woman makes around 79 cents. That’s 21% less.(5)  In the UK, the wage gap between men and women is 9.1%.(8)  For doing the exact same amount work, same amount of effort, it doesn’t give women the same amount of pay. Realistically, if you look at any country in the world, it’s most likely that a woman’s salary is only a fraction of a man’s. On January 1st 2018, “Iceland became the first country in the world to make it illegal for companies to pay men more than women for doing the same job.”(1) They felt obligated to do this because of just how many women in their economy were working just as vigorously as men but not receiving the recognition they deserve. According to United States Department of Labor, women make up 47% of the entire American workforce. Taking this into account, even with almost half the industry being female, women still aren’t being treated equally.

Women came into the economic world during WWI in order to support their families while their husbands went to war. Though they weren’t bearing arms or fighting for freedom, they were able to stay strong and became the main economic pillars of society, fulfilling the vacated roles of the men. Once the war was over, men came back into companies and flooded the working class. Men and women now worked side by side but according to the male population, they were the captains and women were just measly subordinates. However, in 1963 during Kennedy’s Presidency, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was issued. This act was to “establish a principle of equal pay for equal work”. (9) I guess you could say that an attempt was made, but circling back to the main point, that attempt has never been satisfied.

Another problem that some women might face is the theme of poverty. No one wants to think about, but it’s always lurking. The national rate of poverty for this demographic is 1 in 8 women. Relating to this is numbers, it means that 16.9 million women in our world are living in poverty.(6) Imagine how many of those people fell into poverty because of low salaries, and being unable to support themselves. If the pay wage gap was completely diminished, maybe the poverty rate would be lower, maybe women wouldn’t be struggling to survive, and maybe women wouldn’t have to work twice as hard just to make their mark.
You’d think after all that women go through; their salary, their work ethic, and their combat, it would prove a woman’s right to be treated as equal as men, to be treated just as important, and to be treated with more respect. But, as have all been forced to swallow, male monopoly over all entirety is inescapable.  Though women have suffered, the battle continues. They persist through the pressure and keep working until they finally get that wage gap to 0% world wide.


  1. Gray, Sarah. “Paying Women Less Than Men Is Illegal.” Fortune, 2 Jan. 2018, fortune.com/2018/01/02/illegal-to-pay-men-more-than-women-iceland/.
  2. Hegewisch, Ariane, and Maxwell Matite. “Women’s Wages Are Lower Due to Occupational Segregation.” The Wage Gap, edited by Noël Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2014. Current Controversies. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010529234/OVIC?u=60iskl&xid=bfe86a7d. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018. Originally published as “The Gender Wage Gap by Occupation,”, Apr. 2013.
  3. History.com Staff. “Equal Pay Act.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2017, www.history.com/topics/equal-pay-act.
  4. McIntyre, Catherine. “Why do men make more money than women?” Maclean’s, Mar. 2018, p. 20. Global Issues In Context, http://ezproxy.iskl.edu.my:2137/apps/doc/A526733820/GPS?u=60iskl&sid=GPS&xid=e29d0aa2. Accessed 12 Feb. 2018.
  5. Paquette, Danielle. “It’s 2016, and Women Still Make Less for Doing the Same Work as Men.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 8 Mar. 2016, www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/03/08/its-2016-and-women-still-make-less-for-doing-the-same-work-as-men/?utm_term=.58683f6278c8.
  6. Tucker, Jasmine, and Caitlin Lowell. “National Snapshot: Poverty Among Women & Families, 2015.” NWLC, nwlc.org/resources/national-snapshot-poverty-among-women-families-2015/.
  7. Westley, Sidney B. “Counting Women’s Work: Measuring the Gendered Economy in the Market and at Home.” CIAO, Jan. 2017, ezproxy.iskl.edu.my:2068/record/43867?search.
  8. Wit, Alex Dudok de. “BBC ‘Breaking Law’ with Unequal Pay for Women.” The Day: Current Affairs for Schools, 9 Jan. 2018, theday.co.uk/economics/bbc-breaking-law-with-unequal-pay-for-women.
  9. “Women in the Labor Force in 2010.” Women’s Bureau (WB) – Quick Facts on Women in the Labor Force in 2010, Jan. 2010, www.dol.gov/wb/factsheets/qf-laborforce-10.htm.
  10. Women’s Strike for Peace-And Equality, Women’s Strike for Equality, Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, August 26, 1970.  (Photo by Eugene Gordon/The New York Historical Society/Getty Images) http://boryanabooks.com/?p=6882
  11. Safronova, Valeriya. “What We Talk About When We Talk About Pay Inequity.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 3 Feb. 2018, http://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/03/business/wage-gap-gender-discrimination.html.

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