Free Why Women Are Paid Less Than Men Essay Sample

Since time immemorial, women in the labor force have been earning far less than their male counterparts with the same qualification. Many explanations are given as to why this is so including biological differences, discrimination, and difference in educational attainments between men and women. In his essay “Why Women Are Paid Less Than Men.”, Thurow rejects these arguments proposing that the differences arise out of the fact that most women get out of work during the most critical decade for career growth, that is between the ages of twenty five to thirty five, and that men are programmed by nature to be breadwinners hence they have better connections with their jobs while women are programmed to be caregivers. Thurow, however, fails to provide sources for the data which he uses in his essay, something that waters down his argument.

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Thurow states that, “in the forty years between 1939 and 1979 white women who work fulltime with monotonous regularity made slightly less than 60 percent as much as white men.” This is despite the fact that measures were put in place to end discrimination against women and the minorities. While minorities seems to have benefited from these measures, as it is evident from the fact that they are closing in on their Caucasian whites, the same cannot be said about women. Thurow uses the figures on racial groups to draw a comparison on the progress that has been made on this front versus the male-female front. He states that black men earn 72 percent as much as white which is a 16 percent jump since the mid-1950s with black women earning 92 percent as much as white women. Hispanic men earn 71 percent of their white counterparts’ income while Hispanic women make 82 percent as much as white women. Due to their rapid progress, black women make 75 percent of what black men make, while Hispanic women earn 68 percent of what their male counterparts make. The author, however, states that this progress ends when minority women finally catch up with their white counterparts.

Thurow examines this assertion in the light of George Gilder’s statement that “60 percent is just one of Mother Nature’s constants like light or the force of gravity. Men are “programmed” to economically support their families while, in contrast, women have to take care of their family’s needs. As a result, men are more emotionally connected to their jobs, and, in addition, they put more efforts than women thereby creating the 40 percent difference. This statement implies that the cause of the differential earning is biological. Thurow, however, does not give evidence to back up this point only stating that the situation has been like that for a long time.

Thurow argues against all the reasons that have been advanced to explain the variance in earning. He argues against discrimination as a reason because it would be illogical for men to discriminate against their wives; after all, they need their wives’ incomes to shore up their family income. Furthermore, the lesser the women work, the more efforts the men have to put. The issue is not education because the education levels of women are different now from what they were in 1939 while the earning percentages have not changed. Women are also at per academically with men.

Thurow finds this explanation in his theory ‘that women are more likely than men to leave the labor force’ in the most defining decade of 25 years of age to 35 years when careers are made to go and look after children. Women are more likely to leave work after 35 years of age to go and look after their aging parents or loved ones.

Thurow’s theory can be faulted because it assumes women with children will automatically quit their jobs while the reverse is true; there are many more women with children who continue working. His theory points to the statement that “men are programmed to provide for their families economically while women are programmed to take care of their families emotionally and physically’. Again, he had informed the readers that it is not supported by any evidence, it is only an assertion.

The causes and evidence given by Thurow do not help the readers to come to any definite conclusion about why women earn less than men. It is true that there are women who leave early to take care about their children but these are in the minority compared to the total number of women working. 


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