Women have come a long way in the American workforce, but there are still some areas where they often face unfair wages. The results of a new study published in the American Sociological Review, as conducted by a team of researchers at Cornell University and the University of Texas, women who received instruction in high schools and vocational training schools had a lesser chance of finding good paying work than their male counterparts.
Nick Morrison, who writes for Forbes, shares insight about the study, which also pointed out that women who attended high schools in communities where there were more blue collar work opportunities and fewer chances at attending college, “were less likely to be employed and earned far less than women in non-blue collar areas.”
Even now in the millennial generation, women high school graduates currently working in blue collar job "still only earn 78 cents for every dollar men earn." There is a 22% wage gap that hasn’t closed yet, despite high schools trying to give equal training to male and female students.
The Cornell University and University of Texas study points out a couple of glaring issues in the US educational system, which has been criticized for years for not preparing younger workers for the real workforce. In blue collar communities, many schools trade college preparatory courses for vocational training for blue collar jobs.
“This curricular tradeoff did not penalize men in the labor market, at least in early adulthood, but it restricted women’s opportunities to get good jobs,” April Sutton, the lead author of the report and a key researcher at the Cornell Population Center, says. The impact is felt later in life, as women try to shift into more professional careers.
Employers should get involved with high schools and offer guidance as to the types of skills are needed in the workforce for the next generations of workers. Second, they should support higher educational opportunities for men and women, with internships and college tuition. Lastly, if there is a need for blue collar training programs, there needs to be a watchful eye on the management of vocational programs so that both men and women receive the right kinds of training for future career success.
The Department of Labor has reflected the diversifying nature of training programs by recently supporting efforts to create apprenticeship programs.