Updated: Dec 1, 2020
The gender pay gap is not a new revelation to our society. PayScale finds that for every dollar a man makes, women earn 81 cents (as of 2020). For women of color, this can be even less. The pay gap is caused by several factors, the most prominent being deep-rooted gender stereotypes and roles. These factors have been long instilled into society and deeply impacts people's perception of a woman in the workplace. Besides working, women are expected to take care of children, cook, and clean. With all these added responsibilities, women often cannot work as long as their male counterparts, causing women to earn less. Similarly, it is predicted that the wage gap will probably not close until 2052, which means another thirty-two years will pass before women earn the same amount as men do.
In the last fifty years, many strides have been taken towards reaching equality in the workplace. We can see many of these changes in our total workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the United States labor force is now consisting of fifty-nine percent female workers. Similarly, the number of female entrepreneurs and CEOs has significantly increased over the years. However, there is a lot of work to be done if we want to close the pay gap.
With that in mind, let's turn our focus to the youth– specifically Generation Z. Generation Z comprises pre-teens, teens, and young adults born in years between the mid-to-late 1990s and early 2000s. These individuals have never known a world without the internet, and their minds have shaped accordingly. Over the past few years, the oldest members of Generation Z have entered the workforce and have brought their young perspectives with them.
Generation Z holds a unique perspective, far from anything expressed by previous generations. They value equality, honesty, and integrity. Unlike generations before, Generation Z’s viewpoints are not based on traditional gender roles or expectations. They are used to seeing the world from behind the screen of a smartphone or laptop, where there is no segregation of gender or skin color, and the focus is placed on the value of contributions each individual brings over a person’s gender.
The gender pay gap is a serious issue that continues to plague our society to this day. However, as Generation Z and their emphasis on equality slowly take over the modern workplace, we believe change will come in the near future. With their fresh, new outlook on gender roles and life overall, Generation Z will bring about change that women and men alike have been fighting for, for so long.