Kathryn Branch


Gender inequities in employment are apparent in many different contexts and have numerous components. The most quantifiable measure is a comparison between the relative earnings of men and women. A related measure is the distribution by gender across occupational lines and the average relative salaries of jobs that tend to be predominantly occupied by workers of one gender. All available statistics show that men earn significantly more than women. 1 This remains true no matter what year the figures are from, or whether they are weighted according to age, labor force status, or educational attainment. 2 If financial compensation for work is any indicator, women are worth significantly less than men in the United States. Women are not worth as much as men in the labor market because notions of traditional gender roles continue to result in the prescriptive assignment of responsibility for children and home to women. Although it may be true that more women than men would prefer to care for home and family, even in the absence of cultural pressure, not all women desire such a role. It is equally true that not all men would eschew primary caretaking roles. In a fundamentally fair society, the talents and desires of each individual, instead of the biological accident of gender, will decide their appropriate role. Although it is currently possible for an individual to rise above cultural pressures and claim a role different from that encouraged for their gender, the mere fact that a hurdle ...

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