Does being a woman affect your paycheck?

Both Lilian and Mark are junior associates at a legal firm. They both bring in high net worth clients and work roughly the same hours. However, Mark earns 30k more salary and 10% more in their annual bonus. 

Why do you think this is?

In recent years, studies have shown that despite being in the same department, undertaking similar roles, and with even the same educational background women are still underpaid when compared to men. It will take more than 100 years to bridge this gap. A whole century!

What is the gender pay gap?

In simple terms, the Gender pay gap refers to the difference in earnings between women and men.

Reasons why the gender pay gap exists?

  • Education

Though equal education opportunities are available for both genders, not many girls end up finishing school. The number decreases the higher the education level. This could be for a number of reasons e.g early pregnancy, marriage, or choosing the boy child to receive higher learning. This is evident in entry-level and mid-level jobs.

  • Seniority

In most companies, men hold more senior positions as compared to their counterparts. Their promotion rate tends to be higher as well. The more senior the role the more commitment and dedication it requires something not associated with women.

  • Political empowerment

It doesn’t matter that there’s a two-thirds rule in the constitution, most high-held positions in the government and workplace are given to men. The rule remains redundant or completely ignored.

  • Gender occupational segregation

For the longest time, duties that were more physical and demanding were given to men. These duties attracted better pay as compared to the more feminine jobs that were less tasking and were left for women to do. Men acted as providers while women as caregivers.

  • Culture and traditional family roles

Despite modern times, where both genders are expected to contribute to bills and expenditures. The woman’s role is still seen to be good at housework and child care. 

How to close the gender pay gap


Education is one sure way to increase your take home. Taking up a course could just earn you that extra coin and differentiate you from your male colleagues. Thanks to technology all this could be done online.

Choose your employer

Before joining a company, do proper research to find out what the company stands on gender equality are, if they offer equal growth opportunities and equal pay. This will help you get what is rightfully yours and while in an environment you can thrive.

Find a female mentor

Get someone to show you the ropes, especially in male-dominated industries. These are women who have succeeded in their field and can offer you sound advice. The gender pay gap may not be bridged anytime soon but with every passing year, the gap is shrinking. As a society more policies and guidelines should be put in place to offer gender equality based jobs. 

Sources: Time Wise, aauw, Gender Policy Report, Brighter Monday, American Progress, Economic Policy Institute

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