Female Discrimination in the Labor Force

In the past decades there has been a dramatic increase in the number of women
participating in the labor force. This expansion has unfortunately shown how women are
still being treated as inferior citizens when comparing their wages and the jobs they are
hired for to that of men. Many women in similar occupations as men, and having the
same qualifications are only paid a fraction of what their male counterparts are paid. The
only reasonable explanation that can be found for this income gap is discrimination. This
unfair treatment shown throughout the handouts illustrate how far people still have to go
before equal treatment becomes standard.
The increase in female participation started occurring during the 1970's. The
number of women in the civilian labor force jumped from 23 million in the 1960's to 31
million in the 1970's. This leap would continue and increase in the 1980's and on into the
1990's. The result, in 1995, is a female labor force that numbers over 60 million. This
comprised 46 percent of the civilian work force (10).
A reason for the rise in participation by women may be in the way women saw
marriage and children. Fewer women saw marriage as a settling down. Women who had
children began to return to their jobs. The number of working women that were either
married or had children or both increased dramatically. In 1965, women with children
under 18 years of age numbered 35.0 percent of the labor force. This number increased
to 47.4 percent in 1975. In ten years it was 62.1 percent and finally in 1995 it had grown
to 69.7 percent (7). This showed that the female attitude towards having children and
marriage has changed.
According to the handouts, in 1970 women were paid poorly when compared to
their male counterparts. The female worker had a median yearly earning of 19, 101
dollars. This was only 59.4 percent of what the males made. This does start to change in
the 1980's as female earnings rose to 60.2 percent of men's. Five years later it had
reached 64.6 percent. By 1990, the female's earnings had risen to 71.6 percent of what a
man would make (2).
Women in the workplace have always been discriminated against. Ever since the
first women started to work, they got paid less in the same positions that men held before
them. In 1995, the top level managerial and professional specialty jobs were held by 7
million men and 5 million women. Those women made a weekly salary of 570 dollars
while those men made 833 dollars. This is also true in many other occupations such as
sales and technical operations (6). Some would say that this is the case because men are
better qualified and more competent in their jobs.
Since the year 1981, women have graduated from college in greater numbers than
men. Women had 465, 000 graduates while men had 470, 000 in 1980. This gap would
be closed and eclipsed by women in 1981. That year 480, 000 women earned a
bachelors' degree while men only had 473, 000 (4). The gap in the number of college
graduates is increasing in favor of women. So, it would seem that there are more highly
qualified women out there than there are men. Then why is it that men are still being
paid more?
Discrimination seems the only viable answer to the earnings gap. When one
looks at the mean income of year-round workers in 1994, men with only some college
experience still made more than women with a bachelors' degree. This gap increases as
the level of educational accomplishment rises. Men with a master's degree made an
average yearly salary of 62, 368 dollars while women with the same degree made only
43, 601 dollars (5). These numbers seem to greatly support the discrimination case.
When women first entered the labor force they were hassled by the males because
they were traditionally supposed to only work in the house and take care of the family.
This is one of the reasons why women are still to this day paid less than men. Male
disapproval of female workers is reflected in their low wages and the small number of
women in