aimed at achieving
equality for women in the work place, women continue to fall behind men in
regards to pay and leadership positions. This is despite the fact that women
have equal or better educational credentials and offer comparable skill sets to
employers. A multitude of factors have led to the deficiency in pay, including
women having a tendency to choose to enter fields with lower salaries at higher
rates than men, and their more prominent concern for work-life balance in order
to prioritize childcare obligations. However, another suspect exists that
garners far less attention: often, women are not as effective at self-advocacy
in the workforce as men are. Women may be fearful of the potential negative
social consequences of ardent self-promotion, and this may lead to an inhibition
to negotiate which may result in women receiving significantly less pay for the
same work as men. This instance of inequality dates back hundreds of years. In
more recent years, the realization that women and men can generate the same
results, obtain the same education, and have the same capabilities to complete
the same tasks as men is becoming increasingly more popular.

            Colonial America was heavily
influenced by Christianity and its beliefs. The Bible supported the general
notion that women were not as valuable as men. The household jobs that women
held in colonial and revolutionary eras, such as sewing, cleaning, and caring
for children and the sick, were seen as unskilled labor did not require any
specific education or training, therefore interpreted as being worth less than
men’s work. Women’s wages were considered supplementary income or pocket money
and not substantial enough to maintain a household. Employers often determined
wages as much on financial needs of the worker as the value of the work
produced. With that policy in place, women rarely worked for wages. If a wage
was set in place for a woman, all wages were given to her husband or father
because women were not legally able to own property. In 1839, the Married
Woman’s Property Acts was put into action. The act allowed women to own
property, both real and monetary. By 1895, every state had passed some version
of the statute. Regardless, societal standards were already cemented and
continued to persist. A series of court decisions affirmed laws that could
treat women differently for their own protection. This further reinforced the
notions that a woman’s first priority is being a good wife and mother, which
continued into the 20th century.

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            Labor segregation is the prominent
over- or underrepresentation of certain demographics (e.g., sex, race) in
certain types and levels of work (Brown). According to a study done by the
University of Manitoba, labor segregation can be seen in a university context,
finding that men have a higher likelihood of being in a well-paid position when
compared to women either within or across institutions. Men and women may be
represented differently at different institution types, showing that women are
represented higher in lower paid universities. In any one institution, staff
and faculty can be hired in differing instructor ranks or professorial ranks.
Gender segregation revealed that women were predominately placed in lower paid
instructor ranks. While segregation can be found in the different
representation of men and women by discipline or faculty, it also appears in
appointment type. Men typically obtain a tenure-track position and women have a
higher likelihood to be placed in term or contingent positions.

            On average, men earn significantly
more than women do in their lifetimes. Women’s general ineffectiveness at
negotiating a salary is just one contributing factor in this multi-faceted
issue. The results of social science research reveal that women typically
achieve less impressive outcomes from workplace negotiations of salary because
women tend to undermine the value of their skillset, they tend to hesitate more
to enter into negotiations from the beginning than men, especially so when said
negotiation is characterized by a higher degree of structural ambiguity, and
women tend to be more uncomfortable negotiating for themselves as opposed to on
behalf of others.

            The entitlement theory suggests that
women have a higher tendency to believe the notion that they are entitled to
less compensation for their efforts than men, and negotiate with that notion
accordingly. Paired with women’s lower expectations of compensation, studies
show that men give a more outward appearance of confidence, thus increasing
their credibility. Men also have tendencies to overestimate their abilities
when comparing themselves to others at a higher rate than women do, further
influencing their salary negotiations.

            Some studies suggest that the gap in
pay expectations between genders starts as early as high school, highlighting
that women tend to compare their expectations only to other women in their
immediate peer group. This comparison continues after women are hired for
entry-level positions (Karman).  For
example, one study done by Joyce Sterling at the University of Denver Sturm
College of Law, found that women lawyers often do not report all of their
billable hours, thereby furthering gender salary inequalities. It also followed
women and men professionals at a major products company and concluded that,
over time, men had the ability to improve their salaries by laterally
transferring to another company, whereas the same moves laterally by women did
not result in notable salary gains.

            Women tend to be less willing to enter into salary
negotiations than men are. This type of hesitance has measurable repercussions:
women who do not negotiate their salaries have lower lifetime earnings on
average than women who do negotiate their salaries. Only 7 percent of women
graduate students negotiated with potential employers for increased wages,
which reflected in men’s salaries being 7.6 percent higher on average than women’s. This partially explains why the Equal Pay Act
has not been wholly effective in closing the gap between women’s and men’s
wages. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 “prohibits discrimination on account of sex in
the payment of wages and salaries by employers engaged in commerce or in the
production of goods for commerce”