The Pay Gap Only Matters If Men Are Paid Less

The study showed just how little women make compared to men in the global workforce, and the implications are profound. This is a lack of pay parity that will only worsen as more women enter the workforce. As of 2007, only two out of 10 women worked full-time while the number of working women was still less than half of that of men. The gender pay gap has been in decline in the US for about a decade, as women have pushed back or left their jobs during the recession, but the trend has continued as the number of jobs gained after the recession started to shrink.

As the number of women working has declined, the more that women spend at retail shops and waitresses who are more likely to make less than their male counterparts, especially men in the same age range. And as women reach deeper into the labor force, a greater percentage of the low-paying retail jobs will go to women rather than men.

Men won’t be fully plugged into the economy until they make equal salaries to women—a feat that’s a lot easier said than done. If women aren’t earning the same as men, employers are free to pay less because there’s no connection between the woman’s wage and the value of the work she performs. Just because a woman does a job, however, doesn’t mean she should be paid the same. Even after Robert Reich estimated that paying women the same as men would boost the economy by $2 trillion annually and could unleash millions of women to enter higher-value occupations—not just in the traditional industries of medicine, education, and law—but in high-paying positions traditionally shunned by women like business and technology.

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