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History 3571: History of Women in America - Work, Education, Pay - Research Paper Example

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With the current difficult economic climate, men and women alike are finding themselves in a difficult position of having to find a source of income in a scant job market. However, while men are choosing to take any job that is available to them, many females are picky about the…
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History 3571: History of Women in America - Work, Education, Pay
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Women’s Response to the Repression: Education and the Gender Gap With the current difficult economic climate, men and women alike are finding themselves in a difficult position of having to find a source of income in a scant job market. However, while men are choosing to take any job that is available to them, many females are picky about the jobs that they perform and the hours that they work. Instead, many women are dropping out of the labor force and instead choosing to forward their education1. This move is being driven by a number of factors including the recession, wage gap between males and females as well as the hope of gaining an advantage in the future job market.
Currently there is little difference in the educational achievements of men and women, with men having slightly higher achievement in professional and doctoral degrees than females, while females are higher in all other fields (Figure 1). This agrees with figures that show that the amount of female students enrolled in school has been steadily increasing since 2001. Furthermore, while both males and females dropped from the labor force in 2008-2009 because of the recession, there has been a gradual climb in males returning to the workforce but not females2. It is likely that the amount of women attaining professional and doctorate degrees will increase in the coming years, as the female that began studying during or after the 2008-2009 period reach the end of their degrees. This trend will mean that many females will be highly schooled, and this may help them in the competitive world of careers and wage earning.
Figure 1: Number of students aged above 18 years reaching educational achievements. Data obtained from the U.S Census Bureau3.
The difference between male and female wages remains substantially different. As of 2010, the ratio of female-to-male earnings is 0.774. Thus, on average a female will earn roughly three-quarters of what a male does. This pay gap has been a continual issue, even with a range of legislation in place that prohibits discrimination in employment decisions and pay rates. However, studies indicate that this gap persists even when women have University degrees. They still earn significantly less than their male counterparts who have the same skills5.
Consequently, females are increasingly turning to education in this difficult economic climate in an attempt to make themselves more appealing to employers and close the wage gap. For many, it is also an alternative to working an undesirable job or hours that they do not want. Although the numbers of female graduates is beginning to outnumber the males, and are likely to continue to do so in the future, research suggests that this will not help them to find jobs or close the gender pay gap. Regardless at the level at which females perform at, they always have to compete with male peers with similar or identical skills.
Bibliography
AAWU. "The Simple Truth About the Gender Gap": American Association of University Women, 2007. Print.
NY Times. "Women Departing Labor Force". 2011. The New York Times (December 28, 2011). January 21 2011. .
Rampell, C. "Instead of Work, Younger Women Head to School." The New York Times December 28 2011. Print.
U.S. Census Bureau. "Educational Attainment in the United States: 2010 - Detailed Tables". 2011. (April 26, 2011). January 24 2012. .
Walt, C. D., Proctor, B. D., and Smith, J. C. "Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010": United States Census Bureau, 2011. Print. Read More
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