Female Discrimination in the Labor Force


In the past decades there has been a dramatic increase in the number of
women participating in the labor force. This expansion has unfortunately shown
how women are still being treated as inferior citizens when comparing their
wages and the jobs they are hired for to that of men. Many women in similar
occupations as men, and having the same qualifications are only paid a fraction
of what their male counterparts are paid. The only reasonable explanation that
can be found for this income gap is discrimination. This unfair treatment shown
throughout the handouts illustrate how far people still have to go before equal
treatment becomes standard.
The increase in female participation started occurring during the 1970\'s.
The number of women in the civilian labor force jumped from 23 million in the
1960\'s to 31 million in the 1970\'s. This leap would continue and increase in
the 1980\'s and on into the 1990\'s. The result, in 1995, is a female labor force
that numbers over 60 million. This comprised 46 percent of the civilian work
force (10).
A reason for the rise in participation by women may be in the way women
saw marriage and children. Fewer women saw marriage as a settling down. Women
who had children began to return to their jobs. The number of working women
that were either married or had children or both increased dramatically. In
1965, women with children under 18 years of age numbered 35.0 percent of the
labor force. This number increased to 47.4 percent in 1975. In ten years it
was 62.1 percent and finally in 1995 it had grown to 69.7 percent (7). This
showed that the female attitude towards having children and marriage has changed.
According to the handouts, in 1970 women were paid poorly when compared
to their male counterparts. The female worker had a median yearly earning of 19,
101 dollars. This was only 59.4 percent of what the males made. This does
start to change in the 1980\'s as female earnings rose to 60.2 percent of men\'s.
Five years later it had reached 64.6 percent. By 1990, the female\'s earnings
had risen to 71.6 percent of what a man would make (2).
Women in the workplace have always been discriminated against. Ever
since the first women started to work, they got paid less in the same positions
that men held before them. In 1995, the top level managerial and professional
specialty jobs were held by 7 million men and 5 million women. Those women made
a weekly salary of 570 dollars while those men made 833 dollars. This is also
true in many other occupations such as sales and technical operations (6). Some
would say that this is the case because men are better qualified and more
competent in their jobs.
Since the year 1981, women have graduated from college in greater
numbers than men. Women had 465, 000 graduates while men had 470, 000 in 1980.
This gap would be closed and eclipsed by women in 1981. That year 480, 000
women earned a bachelors\' degree while men only had 473, 000 (4). The gap in
the number of college graduates is increasing in favor of women. So, it would
seem that there are more highly qualified women out there than there are men.
Then why is it that men are still being paid more?
Discrimination seems the only viable answer to the earnings gap. When
one looks at the mean income of year-round workers in 1994, men with only some
college experience still made more than women with a bachelors\' degree. This
gap increases as the level of educational accomplishment rises. Men with a
master\'s degree made an average yearly salary of 62, 368 dollars while women
with the same degree made only 43, 601 dollars (5). These numbers seem to
greatly support the discrimination case.
When women first entered the labor force they were hassled by the males
because they were traditionally supposed to only work in the house and take care
of the family. This is one of the reasons why women are still to this day paid
less than men. Male disapproval of female workers is reflected in their low
wages and the small number of women in managerial positions. In 1986 only 23.7
percent of the female working population held managerial positions. The number
increased to only 29.4 percent in 1995 (8). This stagnation shows that women
are still not making inroads into the upper echelon of businesses.
Another reason for the earnings gap between men and women