Today's youngest group of working women are the first in modern history to start their working lives at near parity with men. But will they stay this close in the years to come?
Try not to watch the video while doing the exercise, as the clip does give some visual on the listening comprehension questions.
The video is suitable for intermediate 2 students.
1 How much did a woman earn for every dollar a man earned 30 years ago?
2 How much do women earn now for every dollar a man makes?
3 How much did young women early in their working lives make in 2012 for every dollar their male counterparts earned?
4 Note down at least three reasons why the pay gap has narrowed?
5 Did young women starting their professional career in 1995 maintain, reduced or widen the pay gap with men?
6 Why does the pay gap persist? Give three reasons.
Before checking the answers with the transcript below, watch the video and try the activity again. The visual clues will greatly help you with the difficult questions.
Today's young women are starting their working lives at nearly equal pay with men but there's no guarantee that they will stay this close in the years to come. A new study by the Pew Research Center looks at how the pay gap between women and men has narrowed but persisted over the last 30 years. More than 30 years ago, a woman earned (1) 64 cents for every dollar a man earned. The difference in earnings or the pay gap was 36 cents. Since then, the pay gap has shrunk. Now, women make (2) 84 cents for every dollar men earn - a 16 cent gap and each new group of young women has narrowed the gap even more. Let's take a look at the young women starting out in 1980. While women overall earn 64 cents for every dollar men earned that year, young women could expect to make a little more - 67 cents. Taken at five-year intervals, each successive group of young women has started out at a higher level, steadily narrowing their pay gap with men the same age. By 2012, young women early in their working lives earned (3) 93 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earned. These groups of young women also started out with a narrower pay gap than the pay gap for all working women.
Why has the pay gap narrowed? There are several reasons. (4) Women are better educated and more active in the work force than they used to be. Many of them had moved into higher-paying occupations traditionally dominated by men and men's earnings have fallen. Also, many work place barriers and discriminatory practices have eroded over time, but the pay gap has also persisted. In the more recent years, it has narrowed more slowly. Let's take a closer look. Let's look back again at the 1980s, where working women of all ages made significant gains and closed the pay gap by 11 cents. In later years, women did not make as much progress in closing the pay gap. Because of this overall pattern, young women who started out in the 1980s have done better over the course of their lives compared with later groups of young women. The young women who started out in 1980 built on the rapid progress of that decade and narrowed the pay gap with their male counterparts as they aged and the young women starting out in 1985 also benefited from the strong, overall gains for women during this decade. She maintained about the same pay gap with men over her working life. This progress for women overall slowed. The women starting their working lives in 1990 saw their pay gap with men widen slightly over time. (5) Young women starting out in 1995 lost even more ground relative to men as they aged and so did the women starting out in 2000.
No matter what their pay gap was when they started, all groups of women have moved toward the same pay gap. We don't yet know what the future may hold for today's youngest group of women who have been in the work force for less than a decade. (6) Why does the pay gap persist? Why the newer groups of young women failed to hold on to their early gains? Women are still mainly responsible for child and family care. Many of the mothers in our survey say they have taken a significant amount of time off from work, reduced their hours or quit work to care for a child or other family member. Women also remain more likely to work in lower-paying occupations than men do. For example, male dominated Science & Engineering jobs, pay a medium hourly wage of 30 dollars, while female dominated Administrative Support jobs, pay less than 15 dollar an hour. Gender discrimination may also contribute to the pay gap. Our survey found that women are more likely than men to say they've been discriminated against at work because of their gender. Both women and men say, 'more needs to be done' to bring about gender equality in the work place.
To learn more about the attitudes and experiences of women and men at work, read the full report at: www.pewresearch.org