History of American Women by Claudia Dale Goldin
Discussion and Summary of Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women by Claudia Dale Goldin
Claudia Goldin has provided beneficial information about the gender gap that exists mainly concerning earnings. Before the year 1950, comprehensive data did not exist, but some data obtained from other economic sectors proves that there is a gender gap in matters that concern earnings. Furthermore, these figures have been quite low during the early periods of American history. Between the years 1820 up to 1850, the industrial revolution was taking place in America and the ratio of male to female full-time rose to around 0.5 as from the original 0.3.
This rise was experienced in the manufacturing and agricultural industries respectively. It means that the average earnings of men rose quite higher at fifty percent than that of women at thirty percent. Furthermore, from the years 1900 up to 1930, there was a rise in the sales and clerical sectors, and the ratio existing between females to male earning significantly rose to 0.56 from 0.46. In all the mentioned periods, the employment rate of married women did not expand greatly. However, in the years 1950 to 1980, there were quite a number of married women that entered the labor force. There was a constant female to male ratio at sixty percent with regards to year-round and full-time earnings.
In the article, Goldin used statistics and observation in order to address the issue of gender disparities with regards to earnings. The existing differences were brought about by the earnings between women and men. Pay is affected by observable differences such as hours of work, job experience, and education, among others. These factors give an explanation as to why the wage gap is as high as fifty percent. The other residual factors cannot be in any way explained through observation. Residuals can result from economic discrimination or even workers choices. Around ten to thirty-three percent of the female and male earnings, differences can be explained using the different occupations between the two. Therefore, the remainder comes about as a result of the occupational differences, which are existent because of observable factors.
A key reason as to why there are a decrease and change in the earnings between the two genders is educational advancement. Access to a college education has ensured that men and women are at par when it comes to acquiring knowledge. Women who have a college education have majored in the same subjects as their male counterparts. Male graduates with college degrees were many as compared to females in 1960, while the figure was equal between the two in the year 1980. It means that during the 1960s there was a ratio of a hundred professional degree holders who were male, as compared to less than five females with professional degrees.
However, during the year 1990, as many as sixty females were earning professional degrees when compared to a hundred miles. It is interesting to note that women were becoming aware that they could have the same expectations as men and thus contributing to the success of their futures. In the past, women were taking up courses that were not competitive and thus could not compete with the males. The result is that men obtained better jobs and thus leaving the females to work in undesirable sectors of the economy. Currently, the gap has changed as women now have the same occupations as men, even in the corporate world.
The article has also provided some findings concerning the issue at hand. The government has ensured that the legislature has narrowed the existing gender gap. An example of legislation is the 1964 Civil Rights Act Title VII that does not allow discrimination based on employment conditions, promotion, and hiring based on sex. Also, affirmative action has helped in addressing this issue. The two laws have ensured that the gender gap in occupations and earnings has been reduced. In the twentieth century, the gap in occupations, earnings, and employment reduced in many ways. However, most of the significant changes were witnessed during the 1980s. The article has not provided an exact time as to when the gap will disappear as it depends on the time spent by the two genders at home and child care.
The article has successfully employed new data series as well as quantitative and innovative methods of history. The length of the article shows that a lot of effort was put into ensuring that everything concerning the matter is addressed. It has also traced the female American labor force as well as workplace gender distinctions. However, the article failed to provide an in-depth discussion of how the economy has suffered because of the gender gaps. Also, it should have ensured that it used a lot of references from known researchers in the study. In conclusion, the article by Goldie has ensured that the reader is well informed about the gender gaps that exist in the United States with regards to occupations and earnings.
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