Wage Inequality

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It is without doubt that women are suffering from income equality within the work force. There is one common saying being that “On average, for every 1$ one male makes, a female will earn 79 cents”. The goal of this page is to explore possible reasons as to why there is a discrepancy to the income of both men and women.

Wage gap


The saying, as mentioned above, is overgeneralized. It only compares the median wage between men and women earned. This does not account for women who have different levels of education, different ages, or even the women who work in different fields. This information is important because it will allow analysts to target the issues regarding the problem and begin to close the wage gap. Taking a look at the chart, it simply just shows the median wage, and not any of the factors mentioned above.

Labour Force Participation Rate


Taken from statistics Canada, the chart shows how there is a steady rise of women participating in the work force. In the 1950s, about one-quarter of women aged 20 to 50 participated in the labour market, meaning having a job or searching for ways of employment. On the other hand, 96% of men in the same age group were participating in the labour market. As time passed, society advanced and social norms regarding gender roles evolved. Furthermore, technological advancements were made which reduced the time needed to perform household chores. From 1950 to 1989, the labour force participation rate grew steadily, rising from 25% to 76%. Today, women make up 47% of the entire Canadian workforce.

Glass Ceiling

There is the presence of a “glass ceiling” for women in the workforce. This ceiling prevents women from attaining highly paid roles within their work place. On average, women are less likely to be promoted than men. This makes them less likely to strive for promotion or advancement compared to their male counterparts. However, if they were to be promoted, women will receive significantly lower wage increases. Moreover, if women were to change employers, they will suffer a wage penalty. On average being predominantly male, administrative positions within firms will often hire men over women, even if they have the same qualifications.

Kathryn Bigelow

Hollywood Film Industry

The Hollywood Film Industry is a perfect example of the inequality that is present. Statistically in 2015, only 16%of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 100 domestic grossing films were women. On top of that, there has only been one woman who has received an Oscar. That is Kathryn Bigelow, winning Best Director for her work in the Hurt Locker in 2010. On average, women also receive significantly less lines than their male counterparts, leading to less pay, even though their roles are crucial to the film.

Family and Motherhood

Women who have children will have a wage gap that is twice as large as women without. On average, within a family, the mother will be tasked with child-rearing activities and chores. On top of preparing the schedules for their children and making their food, mothers will tend to take care of their children if they were to fall ill. This takes away and leads to less time allocated towards work in their careers. Mothers will often lose out on many opportunities as it limits the jobs that are available to them.


Arulampalam, Wiji, Alison L. Booth, and Mark L. Bryan. (2007). ‘‘Is There a Glass Ceiling over Europe? Exploring the Gender Pay Gap Across the Wages Distribution.’’ Industrial & Labor Relations Review 60: 163–86.

Le, Anh T., and Paul W. Miller. ( 2010). ‘‘Glass Ceiling and Double Disadvantage Effects: Women in the US Labour Market.’’ Applied Economics 42: 603–13.

Manning, Alan, and Joanna Swaffield. (2008). ‘‘The Gender Gap in Early-Career Wage Growth.’’ Economic Journal 118: 983–1024

Johnston, D. W., & Lee, W. (2012). Climbing the Job Ladder: “New Evidence of Gender Inequity.” Industrial Relations, 51(1), 129-151.

Jones, David R., and Gerald H. Makepeace. (1996). ‘‘Equal Worth, Equal Opportunities: Pay and Promotion in an Internal Labour Market.’’ Economic Journal 106: 401–9.