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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 2813

Why are women paid less than men?

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Why are women paid less than men?

It’s been twenty years since the equal pay legislation and the gap between women’s and men’s wage is as big as it ever was.  On average female post-graduates start their working lives at a 15% lower wage than men.  It is also estimated that this gap will grow to approximately 45% when women are in their mid-40’s.

In this piece of coursework I will attempt to discover if there is a difference in wage rates in the UK between men and women in the jobs, which require the same skills.  I will need to decide if the wage difference if due to discrimination or due to other economic factors such as education and lifestyles etc.  I am going to look at the wage pattern at a local school and see if there are any differences in the wage rates, and if these results fit the national trend.

Real wage rate is determined by the demand and supply of labour.

In a perfect market, where labour is homogenous, wage rates would be identical as the same skills and education would be required for each job.  There would be perfect knowledge, perfect mobility, no trade unions and no barriers to entry.  However, we do not work in a perfect market so wage rates differ as there are many individual labour markets requiring different skills.  This stops people moving between job as they do not have the skills needed for that labour market.

The demand for labour is downwards sloping showing that the lower the wage rate, the more labour is demanded.

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In the UK the wage rates alter depending where you are but the difference between male and female wage rates do not alter much.  These alterations are due to living costs such as house pricing etc.

The problem still persists that women are paid less than men.  Some economists consider that this is due to women being denied the same educational opportunities as men in the past and so lowering their level of human capital.  Another reason may be because the majority of women take primary responsibility of bringing-up their children.  There is also the possibility that women of childbearing age, will want to take maternity leave if they become pregnant.  Employers will have to pay maternity leave to the mother to be as well as the temporary staff who would continue with the work.  New mothers will also take up to 2 years of work to look after their child.  Taking this amount of time off work could result in missing out on formal training, informal knowledge, new methods of training and any new developments in technology and making slower for women to climb the success ladder.  This means that when they look for a new job or return to where the were working, they will be less informed to make decisions about the market and increase their job potential.  There is also the possibility of mothers having to leave work if their child is felling unwell at school and needs to be sent home.  Some women are even declined a job if the employer knows she wants to start a family in the near future.

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When looking at the difference in wage rates between male and female management and teaching staff combined, you can see that females earn 91% of what the men do.  When considering the difference when combining teaching staff, support staff and education assistants, it is noticeable that female staff are earning 27% less than men.  When discussing the whole staff at the school, women are earning 31% less than men.

I think that the wage gap is closing, slowly but surely and I don’t think it will be long till men and women’s wage rate will be equal.


If the wage gap is closing due to men’s wage rate levelling off, closing the gap will cause a fall in household incomes for a number of households.  This could lead to a fall in demand, an increase in unemployment and maybe even a recession.

At this moment in time, approximately 26% of the female working population are part-time workers which means they receive a lower wage rate.  This could put forward a problem in the future.  The average life expectancy for a healthy female is 79.6years whereas it is only 72.3 years for a healthy male.  Women tend to live longer than men but have smaller pensions to live off, due to the fact that they could not save enough throughout their working life due to a lower wage.

After looking after this information, I think the reason why women are paid less is due to the fact that women do part time more often than men and it is bringing down the female average.  I don’t think that there is much sex discrimination even though there is twice as many male management staff as female at Cardinal Wiseman School, in a work force that is dominated by females.

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Height and Weight of Pupils and other Mayfield High School investigations section.

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