The Wage gap? – Library edition

There are many people who still believe in the wage gap. That women make less money than men doing the same work. While this may be true on a general level, I would like to look at it in libraries and on a more specific level.

In libraries the wage gap or low income of library workers/librarians is not because you are a woman or I am a man. It is caused by past ideas on male and female roles. It has nothing to do with you or me. A library job was once considered clerical work, which included librarianship. Library jobs were paid out as clerical work to women who were thought to be better suited to the job. Unfortunately in the 21st century the increase in pay for library workers has not gone up exponentially to make up for the short sightedness and shortcomings of past judgements.

So the wage gap has nothing to do with your sex, it has to do with what the wage for our job was 50 years ago. Because Librarianship, like secretaries and other professions, were considered lady like the wage did not go up for men either. I as a man make the same starting wage as the previous female librarian who came before me. If the wage gap were true, I would be making significantly more because I am a man, but this isn’t true.

The wage gap is a generality and there are many factors that go into creating that stat: Longer hours, jobs that women are likely to take or are still considered feminine: like librarianship. “Career choice is another factor. Research in 2013 by Anthony Carnevale, a Georgetown University economist, shows that women flock to college majors that lead to lower-paying careers.[Wallstreet Journal, 2015].

The low paying jobs in librarianship are more to do with economics than gender. If people want to complain about the pay they receive as a library worker they should really consider the situation they and their employer are in, instead of crying wolf to the overall statistic slated under “wage gap”. Be proactive instead of complaining about a large number you can’t control. Change starts at the local level…so maybe start with what is right in front of you. I know I will.

 

Sources

Chow, Lisa. “Why Women (Like Me) Choose Lower-Paying Jobs”http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2013/09/11/220748057/why-women-like-me-choose-lower-paying-jobs, Sept 11, 201

Wall Street Journal, http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-wage-gap-myth-that-wont-die-1443654408, Sept 30, 2015

 

 

 

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