Wage Gap and the United States

As Seen Through the Three Sociological Perspectives

The Wage Gap

The wage gap is the difference in the earnings between male and female earnings expressed as a percentage of male earnings. The current wage gap is women earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Functionalism and Gender

The functionalist perspective argues any pattern of behavior that does not benefit society stands as unimportant. The functionalist perspective also argues that the traditional division of labor in gender roles has created a dysfunction in society.

Functionalism and the Wage Gap

Traditionally, men held the role of the breadwinner, or the majority wage earner. Women maintained the home and raised her children. Over time, however, women began to work outside the home in larger numbers and thus began to become breadwinners. Even though women have taken over the breadwinner role, females still do not make the same amount of money for the same work as males. Functionalists would view the increase in women in the workforce as a dysfunction of society because the traditional gender roles no longer have a clear division of labor.

Symbolic Interactionism and Gender

The symbolic interactionist perspective argues gender roles are taught socially as an ideal of how boys and girls are ‘supposed to act.’

Symbolic Interactionism and the Wage Gap

According to the symbolic interactionist perspective, society teaches boys and girls how they are 'supposed to act.' The wage gap research shows that women earn 77 cents to every dollar a man earns. A symbolic interactionist would say that since men earn more than women, men are supposed to be the breadwinner because men earn more money than women.

Conflict Theory and Gender

The conflict theorist perspective argues that it is to the advantage of heterosexual men to prevent women and homosexual men from gaining access to political, economic, and social resources in order to reach their full potential.

Conflict Theory and the Wage Gap

According to the conflict theorist perspective, it is to the advantage of heterosexual men to prevent women and homosexual men from gaining access to political, economic, and social resources. Since women earn 23 cents less on every dollar than men, a conflict theorist would say that by preventing women from earning equal wages to men, women cannot reach their potential as breadwinners for families. Thus, they are stuck in the role of housekeepers.

Mr. Sullivan

March 13, 2015

2nd Period

Sociology

Gender Inequality Smore