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Even with all the gains women have made on the job market, they will always be a step behind there fellow male coworkers. Women have made significant gains with their numbers in the workforce, but they still fall behind in the their average wages made. There a many major factors for this, but they are all brought about by the dual labor market. Women cannot compete with men on the job market because they do not belong to the same market. It is the belief that an executives secretary should not be making the same amount as the executive. It is felt that because women work jobs that have less impact, that they obviously should be paid less money.

It was cited in class that women have begun on a whole to catch up to men in there average wages, now making roughly seventy eight percent of there male counterparts. But this statistic does not break down the actual numbers. When that is done a new truth is brought to light and that is that women have only caught up to men because the men have simply been forced into lower paid jobs. Women are continually given less pay because there are different qualifications for women than men on the job market. As Professor Stokes said, when a man has a picture of his family on his desk he is viewed as a stable man, when a women has a picture on her desk, she is viewed as putting her family first. It is fairly difficult to put women in the same job market as men with thought patterns like that are still around. And because of that women are constantly finding themselves working in a very limited number of jobs.

I believe that the crowding theory is a very important factor to why women are having difficulties catching up in the job market. Because women are so clustered in so few jobs, i.e. nursing, sales, receptionist, they are in a sense driving their own wages down. Employers see such an abundance of women available for those jobs there is no need to attract women to them with high wages. But if it is simply the case of so called female jobs driving the wage difference apart, then why do women not just work at the jobs that the men work at. It is because of that inbred thought pattern that women should not be doing the dirty jobs. The example that was brought up in class was that of the women coal miner who was continually harassed until she left. And it is for that same reason that men do not cross the line and become nurses. It has also been tough on women because those higher paid jobs are just not expanding in numbers great enough for women to enroll in them and make a serious difference. As we saw in the overhead during class that broke down a series of different jobs and gave the percentages of how many women were involved in that job and what they were making compared to men, we saw in in jobs such as engineer, a job in which women have a chance to make much greater wages than they make now, that there are virtually no women in that field. The idea that women belong in certain jobs is still a large obstacle in in job market equality.

Two other ideas that make up the help maintain dual labor market is the timing theory and the family wage ideology. These to ideas I believe are linked in a way. The timing theory simply states that when women entered the job market in the sixties and seventies the only jobs available to them where jobs with significantly lower wages. But that is because men had already taken up the larger wage paying jobs because it was felt they needed to be the suppoters of the family. That is part of the family wage ideology. The family wage ideology is that men should be making as much money as possible to be able to support their families. It is because of that idea that women were forced to take the lower paid jobs because men were already working in the high end jobs to support their families.

Possibly the most important maintainer of the dual labor market is that of simple discrimination. As I read in the article Learning Silence, Women have been taught, whether its inadvertent or not, that men are the more dominant gender. Girls are taught at a young age that they are to play the role of submissive, dainty, flirty girl. The guys are the ones that shout out answers in class, are the ones that run and push each other to be first in line. It is not proper for a girl to be aggressive. That is left to the boys. An example that really stuck with me after reading the article Learning Silence was when Amy was truly embarrassed about answering a question wrong, and then vowed to never answer another question again in that class. And that class happened to also be math, which women are generally told and given the idea that they are not good at it. Equations are for the boys, poetry for the girls. It is this separation of the genders at such an early age that maintains this idea of a dual labor market. Women are stuck in this idea that they are the nurtures, and should stay home with the family, or be a nurse, while men are told they need to be aggressive and smart and should be a lawyer or a doctor.

All in all, women will continue to stay a step behind men when it comes to wages and job status until the dual labor market is eliminated. Unfortunately there are too many underlying factors that have been cemented into our societies thinking for that to happen any time in the near future.


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