The 20th century brought changes, and largely questioned, thousands of years of patriarchy. It was so deeply rooted that many scholars considered it a part of human nature (Iversen and Rosenbluth, 2011). Male dominance has meant that women have always had fewer chances in life. It was, and still is, present in different cultures and levels of economic development (Iversen and Rosenbluth, 2011). As such, this short essay concentrates on the gender wage gap as one of many factors contributing to gender inequality; examining just a couple of the possible explanations for this phenomenon.
The existence of the wage gap is questioned because the data used to calculate the difference exhibits restrictions and limitations (Weichselbaumer and Winter-Ebmer, 2005). Despite this, it is difficult to deny the presence of occupational segregation (Brunette, 2011), the glass ceiling effect (Arulampalam, Booth and Bryan, 2007), and the family model (Wheelock, 1990), when it comes to the difference in pay between genders. Therefore, apart from legal framework leading to gender equality, we need to revolutionise perspectives and stereotypes regarding the roles of men and women in society, and their involvement within families. (Wheelock, 1990)
Occupational Segregation, amongst other things, has an impact upon the female salary deficit (Brunette, 2011). Females have a tendency to dominate lower paid professions, such as personal care or education, whereas men occupy higher paid positions – even within the same occupational sector. In the health care industry, for example, women largely dominate the nursing profession. Men within this industry often occupy higher hierarchical positions, like that of surgeon or doctor, with a greater scale of income (Annandale and Hunt, 2008). This pattern can be attributed to the six dimensions of gender stereotypic facets: masculine physical, feminine physical, masculine personality, feminine personality, masculine cognitive, and feminine cognitive (Cejka and Eagly, 1999). The pattern can also be explained through labelling theory (Farrington and Murray, 2014).
Women are perceived as: caring, attached, and communal – they are therefore more suited to lower paid positions in administration, public relations, and human resources. In contrast, men are seen as ambitious, self-reliant, materialistic, and competitive. These qualities lend themselves to roles such as: CEO, jobs within the banking industry, and managerial positions. (Rudman and Phelan, 2008).