Wage Drop and Highly Female-Occupied Jobs
Women occupy almost two-thirds of low-wage jobs, and the new 2.8 percent wage drop may most likely affect these workers. The drop is even lower in occupations of home health care, cleaning services, and food services where women constitute more than 80 percent, and is expected to receive a 5 percent decrease in earnings. Although women earn less money than men in general, this decline will increase the wage gap even further, especially in female-dominated positions. There is a proposed solution to increase the minimum wage, but will this truly close the gender gap in wages?
In this 2011 chart of the percentage of men and women in 20 of the largest occupations in the United States, there is a large composition of men in higher service and business occupations, while women mostly make up the lower service occupations. For example, more than 80 percent of women are in administrative, nursing, and housekeeping positions. In turn, this positions have the lowest wage gap percentages which is less than 20 percent. However, in executive and management positions of which women occupy less than 60 percent, there is a wage gap of more than 20 percent. This shows that there a significant difference in men’s and women’s earnings, and the higher the position, the less women make compared to men; and women make less money than men overall.
So, in questioning whether an increase in minimum wage will close the gender gap, the answer is No. Increasing the minimum wage may increase the divide between the poor and the extremely poor, but it will not close the divide between the poor and the middle-class, especially in terms of gender differences. In order to close the gender gap between wages, there should not be a disparity between men’s and women’s earnings in the first place, and they should be paid the same amount of money for the same job. In addition, there should be an increase of women in higher level occupations so that there will be a 50/50 percentage of men and women in management and executive positions.