Feminist economics is a field that includes both studies of gender roles in the economy from a liberatory perspective and critical work directed at biases in the economics discipline. It challenges economic analyses that treat women as invisible, or that serve to reinforce situations oppressive to women, and develops innovative research designed to overcome these failings. Feminist economics points out how subjective biases concerning acceptable topics and methods have compromised the reliability of economics research. Topics addressed in this essay include the
women’s current situation with respect to labour-market participation and wage income gap and the social processes behind this situation.
According to the statistics provided by American Association of University Women, the earnings ratio between men and women is 80%, which means women only earn 80% of money as men do. Although feminism has been promoted by the mass society throughout decades, the situation of wage gap between the two genders seems have not been improved. According to Alfred Marshall, a founding father of the science, economics is “the study of men as they live and think and move in the ordinary business of life”. Marshall’s casual allusion to “men” captures what feminist economists believe is the first big problem with economics: a habit of ignoring women. Feminist criticized that only machine and men are taken into account of economics, however, unpaid work is not. They found this is unfair since caring and unpaid supplies are not counted as “production” in the market. In the other words, women’s voluntary works are not contribution to the society. As Waring (1988) argued, unpaid care should be included in GDP to reflect the fact that “production” of well-cared-for children is just as important as that of cars or crops.
Also seeing the data collected by the US Census Bureau (2013), women did make more money than men in specific area, however, this are only inconsequential amount of difference in jobs where women make more than men, compare to the jobs where men make more than women. The gap in area where women make more than men is $30 to $3858, but the gap in area where men make more than men is $14,320 to $32,990, which is a significant amount.The standard explanation for the pay gap is that women self-select into low-paying, altruistic professions like nursing, teaching, and nonprofits, while men pursue highly lucrative, less altruistic careers. But this data shows the faults in that argument, since the pay gap persists in almost all job functions. They following explanations are suggested:
Firstly, the education of the recent society still promoting gender stereotype. Since kindergarten, people received information from schools to help building up their personality as well as the gender identity. The most common stereotypical statements given by schools are women are infirmity and they should stay at home and take care of family. On the other hand, men are the one who supposed to earn money and be productive. Growing with such education, the society has form a concept which men are more prior than women regarding on work. While women often take time off to have kids, men typically don’t, and it creates cascading effects in earning potential. Family, care and domestic responsibilities are still not equally shared. The task of looking after dependent family members is largely borne by women. Far more women than men choose to take parental leave. This fact, together with the lack of facilities for childcare and elderly care, means that women are often forced to exit the labour market. According to European Commission (2015), only 65.8% of women with young children in the EU are working, compared to 89.1% of men.
Secondly, there is segregation in the labour market, which means women and men still tend to work in specific job areas. In the other words, women and men often predominate in different sectors. However, within the same sector or company women predominate in lower valued and lower paid occupations. Women often work in sectors, for example in health, education, and public administration where their work is lower valued and lower paid than those dominated by men. When we look at the health sector alone, 80% of those working in this sector are women. Moreover, women are frequently employed as administrative assistants, shop assistants, or low skilled or unskilled workers – these occupations accounting for an important proportion of the female workforce. Many women work in low-paying occupations, for example, cleaning and care work. Women are under-represented in managerial and senior positions. For example, women represent only around 17% of board members in the biggest publicly listed companies within the EU, around 4% of chairs of boards, and a third of scientists and engineers across Europe.
From the above argument and statistics, it can be concluded that gender wage gap has been a continuous inequality problem that has not been solved throughout decades. In advanced countries such as United States and Germany, gender seems to be equal and both men and women are enjoying their right in career. However, the data tells the opposite. Women are still suffering from gender inequality and many of them even need to sacrifice their career just only because of the tradition. The general pay rate is also one of the reasons, making women likely become unconfident in their career as male-dominated occupations generally pay more than female-dominated occupations,8 yet women made less than men in median weekly earnings in every male-dominated occupation in 2016. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017)
Feminism had been promoted since 1848, however, gender inequality is still being a serious problem after 170 years of development. What the society should promote in the future, should definitely be improving the education in personal growth, in order to diminish stereotype. Organization should also enhance the treatment of women in workplaces and society should also approved the women’s performance in contributing to the economics.