How do students at the University of Denver feel about the increasing wage gap?
It has been 52 years since the passing of the Equal Pay Act, a law aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on gender. Today, American women are making just 80 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn.
The pay gap ironically, does not discriminate who it affects. Women from all backgrounds, ages, and levels of education experience wage disparity. A study conducted by the American Association of University Women also known as the AAUW, found that a gender pay gap exists in nearly every occupation.
In 2016 more women graduate from college than men, however highly educated women are still experiencing visible wage disparity. The AAUW found that one year out of college, women are paid just 82 percent of what their equally educated and experienced male peers were paid.
“I don’t know how the pay gap will affect me in the long run, but at the moment, it affects my self-esteem and my confidence in what I am capable of compared to men,” said Julia Straaton, a Sophomore at the University of Denver.
“I’ve noticed that my male friends are usually getting internships over my equally qualified female friends.”
Policy makers are continually working on solutions to help decrease gender inequality in the work field. Most recently, introducing a law that requires wage disclosure by gender.
In a recent speech at the White House President Obama said, “Women are not getting the fair shot that we believe every American deserves.”
Haley Busyn, a Sophomore at the University of Denver is dubious about the government’s efforts to decrease the wage gap.
“I’m confused why the gender pay gap still exists. If everyone is aware of the issue why can’t we all work together to put an end to it?” said Busyn.
Though the federal government is working to rid the U.S. of its wage gap problem, Colorado still has a long way to go.
Colorado women on average earn just 77.9 percent of what Colorado men make. This compared to the national average of 82.1 percent puts Colorado behind 21 other states in terms of equal pay for both genders.
This past March, a bill proposed to ensure that Colorado state contractors follow federal equal-pay laws, was killed three-two by the Colorado Senate Committee.
Students at the University of Denver are bewildered by these facts.
Griffin Powell a Sophomore at the University of Denver said, “I think these are very unfortunate and unfair statistics, paying someone less based on gender isn’t right.”
Powell has yet to see how the wage gap affects him or his female counterparts, saying, “I don’t think it particularly affects the student body very much because most students don’t have jobs or they have low-entry jobs, where the salary is probably the same for boys and girls.”
It is true that wage disparity increases with age. However, a wage gap still exists amongst young people, including those in college. According to the AAUW, until the age of 35, women typically earn about 90 percent of what men are paid. As women get older this gap opens even wider.