The gender pay gap between men and women comes as no surprise to citizens of America. Being a woman in America and other countries, means you will automatically make less money than a man who has the same credentials and occupation. One might ask themselves why? Why is there a gender pay gap between men and women? As I often wondered this question myself, research I found discusses discriminatory practices and subjectivity to employees.

As of 2023, women can make on average 83 percent of what a man makes doing the same job. Last Spring semester I was taking a course involving gender that covered the topic of gender pay gap between men and women. While this was not the first time I had heard of the gender pay gap, it was the first time I was able to learn about the topic and hear experiences from others. My professor started us off discussing her role and job she acquired at JMU many years ago. She discussed the credentials and degrees she obtained that help her get this job. Her husband is also a JMU professor in the same department as her with the same credentials and degrees as his wife. The couple had both been working at JMU for some time and eventually had a discussion about their salaries. My professor noticed there was a large gap in their annual pay even though they had the same job with the same credentials. Hearing the very large difference in pay my professor was getting compared to her husband was a big shock to me, especially hearing that it came directly from JMU. Like I mentioned before, I was not unaware of the gender pay gap prior to taking the class, but I did not understand the extent and severity of men’s pay compared to women.

 Looking into an analysis of the gender pay gap for Crowdworkers explains that putting discrimination aside, subjectivity contributes heavily to the gender pay gap. Furthermore, the analysis includes the roles of domestic labor for the household that are more commonly pushed to be the woman’s responsibility and how that affects their pay. Why aren’t there strict laws to provide more objective standards in the workforce?

I decided to ask my older sister, Alex, if she had dealt with subjective pay in her seven years of working in retail with a variety of male and female coworkers of all ages. My sister is 25 years old and currently enrolled in Law School.

During the time of her employment, she was 16 to 23 years of age. Alex informed me that employees would receive a bonus in their pay every year which was subjective to their performance and reliability. Alex was a perfect employee to say the least, was extremely reliable and well liked at the store for the entirety of her time working there. However, there were instances in which male coworkers who did not perform as well as her were receiving higher bonuses. Even instances where she had been an employee at the store for much longer than other male employees that would get higher raises and bonuses than her.

The part that’s troubling for me with the gender pay gap is that the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment explains that people cannot be deprived of things such as property, life, or liberty without a process of law. However, the gender pay gap exists because of discriminatory practices and subjectivity. Neither of which are due to a process of law as the amendment states. What can we do as a society to dismantle and get rid of the gender pay gap? Overall, I hope in the future that gender discrimination of pay can become a thing of the past, and women will be equal to men in the eyes of employment.

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