The Instigator
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The Contender
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Is there a Wage Gap based on discrimination of the genders in the United States of America?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/11/2016 Category: Economics
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 358 times Debate No: 91052
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
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Well I have to say, I'm just not convinced by the "evidence" for a wage gap based on discrimination. However, I'm open if my currently undecided opponent provides solid evidence that this gap exists. Remember, this is about Gender discrimination, not Racial. While I also would contest to racial discrimination existing, that's not particularity what I'm interested in debating.


I accept this challenge, and will attempt to prove with evidence and try to argue and explain the existence of a wage gap caused by a discrimination of genders, in the United States.
For this to be a fair debate, and since my opponent has yet to post an argument, debating shall start from the next round henceforth.
Debate Round No. 1


This is going to be a bit difficult since I'm basically attempting to prove a negative here. However, I will rephrase my argument to make it to where I can make an argument against the existence of a wage gap.

1) The United States of America has a law against it.
This probably sounds like a weak argument, since the United States also has laws against murder, violence, and rape. Yet all of these still happen. However, the laws are not in place to prevent a crime from happening. The laws are in place to protect the people effected by the crime when it happens. By all means there are instances of individual businesses paying Women less based on their gender. However, this does not create a wage gap in America, and furthermore these businesses can be prosecuted under the equal pay act of 1963.

2) The statistics commonly cited for the existence of the Wage Gap, don't hold up to scrutiny
Women make 77 cent for every dollar a man makes. This is a purposefully misleading statistic. This takes the number of full time working Men and compares it to full time working Women. It does not compare the same job level, it does not compare the same hours, and it does not compare the same number of Men V Women.
For source for this info (
All this 77 cent figure proves is that higher paying fields pay higher, and working more hours makes more money. Which is obvious to anyone.

This is all I can counter since I don't know what my opponent will throw my way.


My opponent seems to contradict himself, and the argument he provides are quite weak.
" By all means there are instances of individual businesses paying [sic] Women less based on their gender." If there are individual businesses paying women less, then that creates an income gap.

It does not matter if those businesses can be prosecuted for such an act, as many such cases of discrimination can be subtle, unreported, or otherwise unnoticed by the Law, leaving businesses unpunished. The law, after all, is just an ideological theory. In practice, many instances of discrimination go unnoticed, a fact often caused by the discrimination being subtle, or the victim being unwilling to get legal support.

I will now present data to support my case. Since my opponent mentions that differences between income may be due to the job level or number of hours being different, I will keep those variables constant.

For example, the median weekly pay for female lawyers is only $1600, 80% of the median weekly pay for male lawyers which is $2000, and as the pay is median, there is no significant difference in job level, and since the pay is calculated as weekly (40 hours) pro rata, the number of hours are kept constant. As a whole, in fact, according to, even after accounting and adjusting for factors such as inflation, age, years of experience, industry, and working hours, there is still a 22.2% wage gap in the U.S. That is to say, even with the same jobs, women in the U.S are still getting on average about 20% less than men. If this is not a wage gap, then what is?

In fact, many such instances of the wage gap occur repeatedly in the U.S, instantiated as the median wage gap that is constantly present. The median wages of year-round full-time female workers are constantly only 75% that of their male counterparts in the 2000s, making females constantly getting lesser pay, on average, than males.

One might argue like my opponent did, that the median wage gap is an ineffective measure as it does not account for the difference in the number of hours and job level. However, there are only two causes of this difference in the median wage gap.
(i): That median wage gap is caused by females generally having lower job levels/working hours, and therefore are being paid less, as they are less productive. But why would they have lower job levels/working hours? Is it not because the higher level jobs / full-time jobs are not given to females? And is THAT not because females are being discriminated against, either by their bosses when hiring female employees, or in their education? The definition of gender discrimination is treating different genders differently although they are in the same situation. This counts as discrimination, so even if the median wage gap is caused by females having lower job levels / working hours, the lower job levels / working hours is due to gender discrimination, making the wage gap being caused by gender discrimination nonetheless.

(ii): That median wage gap is caused by females being paid less than their male counterparts. This is straightforward and blatant gender discrimination, and therefore, in this case, there is a wage gap caused by gender discrimination.
We can see that therefore in both cases, whatever the cause of this median wage gap be, the root cause is still gender discrimination, and I conclude firmly, therefore, that in the U.S, we can clearly see a wage gap caused by gender discrimination.

Debate Round No. 2


- Yes, individual business paying Women less would create a gap between the workers in the situation. However, not nationwide, and not such wide spread as the media would imply.

- Furthermore, YES it does matter that businesses can be prosecuted for such. You say that "many sources of discrimination can be subtle, unreported, or otherwise unnoticed." Well I ask you, what is the difference between this discrimination and no discrimination at all? If the evidence is not strong enough to prove that a pay gap exists, even in court, then why believe it exists at all? In fact this sentence is contradictory, if the discrimination is unnoticed, unreported, and otherwise unnoticed, then how would you even know it exists or otherwise how would you notice it?

- As for your (fortune) citation, it does not even say what you said. All that article said is that tournaments for tennis pay women less than they do the male counter-parts. This is easily explained with the fact that male sports are watched more often, and therefore bring in more money, and therefore output more money to the workers in the industry. This is simply basic economics.

- I'm going to start with (i) because for lawyers being payed less your source did not cite which source they had gotten that information from, and therefore I cannot in anyway verify that the conditions you say where controlled where in fact controlled.

- You say that the discrimination is based on Women not being hired into higher paying fields and the male counterparts are being hired over the female counterparts. Well I have quite a few problems with this.

- (A). You don't cite a source for this.
- (B). Women on average simply graduate into lower paying fields (
- (C). Men on average graduate into higher paying fields (

- NOTE; This is not because women have less ambition, this is simply a result of giving everyone in a society agency. I will counter the argument that this is because Social Norms now. Get a female friend, go out, and ask what feminist would think of them wanting to become a house wife. Think about how they would respond. Would they congratulate her? No. They would look down on her with contempt. The so called "Social Norms" that is if they exist, don't stop anyone from doing what they want regardless of backlash.

- I looked at your sources, and they don't layout how they came up with their little cute infographics and bar graphs. They cite sources, yet they fail to show which source they use for each graph. I need you in the next argument to provide me with a direct link to a non - biased source, preferably from a .gov website but this is not a requirement, in which it clearly shows how they calculated the wage gap and how they controlled for each individual condition.

- Your sources fail to clearly cite how they controlled there conditions, and furthermore how they lead to a paygap based on discrimination. It shouldn't be that hard if this is such a widespread issue.


Firstly, it is interesting how my opponent never makes his own arguments to support his stand, but merely attempts to refute mine, and even that refutation is only targeted at my sources, something which I will correct in this argument. I must request my opponent to post his own argument, or else he is not proving anything. The burden of proof lies with my opponent, much as how the burden of disproof lies with me. Even if all my arguments are flawed, that does not mean that there is no wage gap in the U.S, it merely means that I am a bad debater, and cannot prove it to be as such.

Secondly, I would like to clarify that by "unreported" I mean that many cases of discrimination and wage difference has not been officially reported through the police or the legal system. This does not mean that this discrimination does not exist. While it may be unnoticed by the law, it is often noticed by other channels such as social surveys conducted by academic institutions. This is not a contradictory position, and is actually quite a common happening, as many women find it difficult, or are otherwise unwilling to report cases of discrimination to the court, but find it easier to express the truth to surveys.

Thirdly, of course female sports are watched less often. And may I know why that is? Perhaps it is because people think male sports are in some ways better and discriminate against females? Is this then not a form of discrimination, and as you accept that women tennis players are payed less, is this then, not a blatant instance of a wage gap caused by gender discrimination in the U.S?

Fourthly, you say that males graduate into higher paying fields than females, a fact with which I agree. And when I agree with something, I tend to ask why. So, why, do males graduate into higher paying fields? Perhaps because the institutions of education discriminate against women, making it harder for females to study in higher paying fields or graduate to which? And is this not, again, a form of gender discrimination? You also accept this to be a reason behind females being hired in less paying fields, and this causes females to have less pay.
May I ask you, is this not a case of a wage gap caused by gender discrimination, because it seems to me to be quite as such. I would also like to thank you for providing me with 2 free points.
Thank you

Please also clarify your Social Norms counter argument, as it seems to me to be a digression. While it is understandable that social norms do not dictate a female"s ambition, it is not the female"s ambition that matters. What I am saying is that regardless of ambition, females are being downplayed by their bosses, someone that is beyond their control. It is the discrimination by the bosses when selecting people to hire/promote etc, not the ambition of the females, that ultimately leads to the females receiving less jobs / less paying jobs, creating a wage gap.

I will now provide my data and my sources:

Statistically keeping the number of hours the same by limiting the pay to weekly (40 hour weeks), and keeping the industry the same by only accounting for salaries from the specific industries, Forbes reports that in management positions, women earn only 71.6% of what men earns, with women earning only $951, while men earn $1328. In fact women in the law industry only earn 53.7% that of their male counterparts.

Perhaps most telling is the gap in median wage, collected through the rather reliable Current Population Survey from 60,000 representative households, and published by the U.S Bureau of Labour statistics. In 2012, the Survey reports that females earn only 81%, on average, as compared to that of their male counterparts.

What is more persuasive however, is that the Survey also asked for age, occupation and hours worked, and the Bureau of Labour statistics therefore kept those variables constant by only comparing the relevant survey respondents, and here are their results:

Across most occupations, women have a consistently lower pay than men. In management and professional occupations like it, women earn only 72% that of men, in the education industry, females earn only 76%, in healthcare, women earn 76%, in the entertainment and sports / arts industry, women earn 84%, and in service industries, women earn only 80%. Even at the higher levels of their careers, a 2012 study still found that female CEOs earn only 58% that of their male counterparts. This is a trend that is reportedly consistent across the playing field of jobs, showing that there is a male / female wage gap, regardless of occupation or occupation level.

Furthermore, when controlling the work week to be 40 hours, this trend of women being paid less still holds with women on average earning only 88%.
The survey also shows that women make up a lesser proportion in professional careers such as engineering, computing, management, law, and medicine. There are also two times as many women than men who work in part time jobs.

This shows that employers consistently discriminate against women when employing people into the higher paying jobs or into full time jobs, making discrimination a likely cause for the wage gap, as we can see that the majority of U.S employers hold a mentality of gender discrimination, a mentality that will be carried forth when they are deciding on wages, creating therefore a wage gap, and thus there is a wage gap in the U.S based on gender discrimination.

A good report on the survey:

The survey itself:

Lastly, I will once again require my opponent to disprove, with credible evidence, that either there is no wage gap in the U.S, or that the wage gap is not caused by gender discrimination, or else my opponent"s stand cannot be seen as true, a failure on my opponent"s part.
Debate Round No. 3


I didn"t realize I would have to explain this but the burden of proof doesn"t lie with me. The positive here is "the pay gap exists" which is what you"re debating for. You say the burden of disproof lies with you, which I ask what are you disproving? The pay gap existence? The pay gap non - existence? This doesn"t make any sense, and I don"t exactly understand how you could get this confused. This sounds like some undermined attempt to get any voters (if any voters ever show up) to go to your side. Your right however, even if your arguments don"t hold water that doesn"t mean it"s not true. Though, if your arguments don"t hold water don"t you believe at that point Its worth reconsidering your conclusion?

Social surveys are not valid sources. Unless the population size is signifigent, and from an unbiased source. Which is rather irrelevant since you didn"t cite a source for theses so called "surveys" and academic institution "studies." I would like to mention that many universities have started gender studies classes, and these teach as fact that a pay gap exists, and therefore these "surveys" coming out of these classes can hardly ever be trusted. Furthermore, I find it disgusting how you see Women too weak to report their boss paying them less than their male counterpart. Yes, because Women are going to turn down a 20% increase in pay (assuming that the original 80% gap existed in the first palace) because they think It"s "difficult" and just find it "easier."

Well I already explained why the tennis example was not a pay gap on discrimination. It"s literally basic economics: if your field makes more money than another, therefore the people in the field will be played more. This next point of yours is rather trite and easily countered. Male sports are watched more often, because Male sports has been around longer than Female sports. Furthermore, It"s rather irrelevant to call them "male" and "female" sports because the opposite gender can still enter into either (10 examples: . So if a Woman wanted to, she could play in the industry with more money, but she chooses not to. What makes you think the audience for male sports is doing because they see women as inferior? Is it because you yourself see women as inferior? I don"t watch sports at all, dose that make me not sexist at all? Just because there is a gap in audience - ship does not mean that it is there due to sexism.

Yeah I debated my Civics and Economics teacher on this and he asked the same thing. Why don"t women go into higher pay fields as much as men? Frankly, I find this point to be particularly disgusting. If you would have taken a second to look at my previous source, colleges don"t discriminate at all. In fact, if you were to explain the gap in college graduates due to discrimination, you would have to explain it that Men were being discriminated against. Women had 360,430 degrees, while males only had 239,864 ( This is not due to discrimination, It"s a matter of choice to attend college. However, Women go into the field their interested in, and these just so happen to pay less. However, please feel free to cite a source next time you call discrimination in a college.
I"m not sure what you mean by providing you with two free points, but your welcome I suppose!

I suppose my social norms was a bit unclear on why I put it there. I attempted to counter an argument that had not been made yet, because it was a common defense that I have heard often as a counter to my original argument.

Now into the good stuff: Statistics.
My point below will be the same as up here. Just because it"s the same industry does not mean it"s the same position, and therefore the "gap" is explained because it took lower paying jobs and compared them to higher paying jobs.

Oh my god. Sorry to say you probably should have looked at the footers on that survey of yours. Wow, this is going to be pretty embarrassing for you. Foot note (28) page (11) says "The difference between the percent declines in earnings of Men and Women who worked full time, year round was not statistically signifigent." Furthermore, the positions you listed are wide and varied fields. Management: what are they managing? A local McDonalds? A Multi-Million-dollar rap star? A chain of Longhorn Steakhouses? This is not a single job, It"s not controlled. Management has higher and lower paying positions, and therefore it is not a controlled condition. Which, to be fair, this survey doesn"t claim it to be. Education: What was the job studied? Principal? Where the districts constituent (since some districts have lower funding than others and therefore pay teachers less)? Where the Women professors? If they were: what where they teaching? Gender Studies? Education much like management is a wide and varied field, education is not a "job" and just because all the people studied where in the field, does not mean they were in the same position.

Also there"s less full time working females than males ( So this was not controlled either.

I"m not going to go on and list the jobs for each field you mention, because I think you get my point. Interestingly enough, since this is a government source, and since this according to you is ample evidence to prove a pay gap, shouldn"t these business be taken to court? Unless of course, the census bureau didn"t find the evidence enough to say that a pay gap based on discrimination existed.

You say controlling the work week to 40 hours, but fail to say what field this was in. Which I assume means that this was taken from all fields, and therefore the job was failed to be controlled not the work week.

Here"s my argument for the lack of a pay gap based on discrimination:
1.There"s a law against it. You failed to counter my counter to this.
2.Every statistic you have thrown my way don"t hold water
3.Therefore, when a positive doesn"t have any evidence, I can"t believe that the positive exists.
Please reconsider the burden of proof, and understand who"s making the positive and negative here.


George_DZ forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by webby53 5 months ago
Amazing debate!! Was pretty neutral but now I'm leaning for con...
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