First Advisor

Cynthia-Lou Coleman

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Communication Studies and University Honors




Wages -- Women -- United States, Pay equity, Women -- Social conditions, Women -- Employment -- United States, Equal pay for equal work




President Kennedy signed The Equal Pay Act in 1963, a time when women were making an average of 59 cents on the dollar compared to men. 49 years later, that value has only risen 17.5 cents. If the current rate of progress continues at the same pace, it is projected that the wage gap will cease to exist by the year 2057; 94 years after The Equal Pay Act was established. Politicians, economists and women’s rights activists, among others question what must be done to bridge the wage gap and how has it continued to be perpetuated for so long. I argue that it is the socialization of women, specifically women’s gender roles, which account for the majority of the problem. The first section of this paper introduces the concept of social construction in regards to gender, following the path from early childhood development into adulthood. The second section explores the breakdown of the long term economic loss for women as well as the stereotypes that continue to undercut their worth. Finally, I demonstrate that, due to socialization, women continue to accept these roles and surprisingly, also accept the income disparity that comes along with them, rather than fighting for what they deserve. In order for income equality to be reached, there must be a drastic change in gender norms as well as the socialization of both women and men.


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