Here’s why income inequality remains a big problem
In 2021, women are still chasing income equality in Arizona and across the country.
Based on 2020 data from US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Arizona women earn 86.4% of the average annual salary of men. In 2019, the average salary for men in Arizona was $ 64,750; the average salary for women was $ 49,881, according to data from DataUsa. This‘s almost 30% less than the average income of men.
This is an improvement over the previous year; in 2019, according to the BLS, women earned just 78.4% of men’s wages. But Jill Horohoe, associate professor of history and studies of women and gender at Arizona State University, wrote in an email that the increase is “painfully slow.”
“According to the last UN studies, at this rate, it will be until 2069 before women approach equal pay with men, âwrote Horohoe.
Income inequality has been a historically significant problem across America, Horohoe wrote.
READ ALSO: Arizona’s Most Influential Women in Business for 2021
âIt’s complicated, but in short, women have always been paid less than men,â Horohoe wrote. âAnd occupations that are viewed predominantly as ‘female work’, like teaching, are often lower paying jobs than traditionally male jobs, like engineering. “
Gender inequality has existed in America since the founding of the country. According to US National Archives and Records Administration, the 19th Amendment guaranteed American women the right to vote on August 18, 1920, after years of fighting to be heard. Even then, only white women were really allowed to vote.
Race also plays a role in income inequality. Non-white American women earn less than their white counterparts, both men and women, Horohoe wrote.
âIn 2021, women are paid 82 cents for every dollar a man earns, but they are the luckiest women,â Horohoe wrote. “If you are a woman and a mother, or African American or Latin, the pay is even less.”
Societal gender stereotypes continue to permeate American culture, perpetuating the problem. From birth, women are “conditioned to believe that it is frowned upon to be assertive,” and this contributes to the disparity, Horohoe wrote.
“There is always the idea, as there has been throughout the history of the United States, that there is ‘men’s’ work and ‘women’s’ work – and the work of the women has always been inherently less valuable, âHorohoe wrote.
Hannah Mason, a sophomore student at ASU, said the problem runs deep in America’s education system.
âI think people really have to realize that these statistics and this disparity come from education,â Mason said. âIt comes from our culture as a whole. “
So how can this culture and income inequality change? Horohoe wrote that she believes a lot should happen for women to be paid equally.
âEmployers should be more transparent in their pay practices, those in leadership positions should reaffirm their commitment to fairness in the workplace and, most importantly, we as women need to start demanding more for ourselves. themselves and seek fair compensation, âHorohoe wrote.
Horohoe isn’t the only one asking women to be bold. Mason also said they believed individual women held the power to influence this change.
âDon’t be afraid to stand up for yourself,â Mason said. “I think that’s where the change is going to happen, it’s these individual women who really push for their own success and don’t take any kind ofâ¦ disrespect.”
Initiating conversations about gender and income inequalities with young men and women who have just entered the workforce can help them understand their role in stopping the cycle of wage inequality, Horohoe wrote. Conversations like these highlight the many inequalities and injustices that continue to plague America.
âWhen it comes to real equality, we’re still not that far along,â Horohoe wrote. “We have a long way to go.”