Invited Essay: The Wage Gap Is Getting Worse, Now What?

As part of our September newsletter, Sharla Alegria comments on the growth of the gender wage gap amidst changing employment structures.  Alegria is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Merced.  Her research investigates race, class and gender inequalities within contexts that disavow discrimination. 

Over the last few years, I have been forced to the realization that neither the gender pay gap, nor the race pay gap have improved since before I learned the meaning of the word pay. Not only did the gender pay gap nearly stop narrowing in the mid-1990s, even the modest improvement since then is from older workers, who had the largest gap, retiring (Campbell and Pearlman 2013). Meanwhile, the pay gap between all black and white men is now on par with 1950s levels (Bayer and Charles 2018).

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