Breaking the Barrier of Tradition
I find it interesting that some people believe that women choose to pursue lower-paying career paths than men. There’s an argument that women should not complain when their paychecks are noticeably smaller than their male counterparts because women are aware of this upon entering certain professions (like teaching or nursing). I don’t believe in the validity of this argument since choice is sometimes an unsupported assumption. Women’s “choices” are not necessarily choices and instead may be a limited scope of paths already laid out for them. There are a number of barriers to this idea of having freedom of choice such as the lack of objective information about job opportunities as well as discrimination and harassment in male-dominated fields. Some scholars suggest that women need more information and opportunity to pursue higher-paying careers, especially those in the STEM fields where an increasing number of employers are providing paid family leave to encourage more equal division between men and women in the home and in child care.
However, in the past decade, evidence has shown that a greater number of women and men are moving into roles that have traditionally been held by the opposite gender. An analysis from “CareerBuilder” found that about a quarter of the new jobs in traditionally male-dominated occupations, such as CEOs, lawyers, and surgeons, were held by women for the past eight years. Contrastingly, research shows that nearly 30% of all traditionally female-dominated occupations, such as education administrators, pharmacists, and interior designers are now filled by male workers. Over the past decade, women have been advancing in management, law and various STEM occupations, and more men are moving into education, support roles and artistic fields. There is still room for improvement in terms of all women receiving adequate unbiased information about a variety of occupations, and therefore reducing occupational segregation. Yet, it’s uplifting to note that there has been progression in the recent years in that there seems to be less gender bias in the hiring process and a growing balance of men and women in career paths. Since I believe it’s probable that wage was set by gender rather than the nature of work in order to maintain the typical structure of an American household, I now wonder if we could see pay raises in occupations traditionally held by women.