Exploring Society By The Numbers

Gender Inequality in the United States

Jeffrey Lashbrook, SUNY- Brockport

Summary

This exercise will explore the impact of gender on the earnings of full-time workers in general and within a specific occupation.

Learning Goals

Skills
  • Learning outcomes for this assignment include honing analytical skills associated with generating, reading, and interpreting rudimentary forms of data analysis. Our goal is to interpret the information for a lay audience (e.g., write a summary that any newspaper reader could understand).
Substance
  • Social science research is often categorized in terms of two objectives-to describe and to analyze the social world. The first presents data to build a portrait of the way things are (or were) while the latter brings conceptual frameworks to bear on the data to explain why things are the way they are. For this assignment, our objective is to both describe and analyze gender differences in earnings. We will answer the following questions:
    • What is the nature of gender inequality in earnings among U.S. full-time workers, ages 25 and over, in the most recent year for which full census data are available?
    • How do selected state results compare to the national picture regarding gender inequality?
    • What might be some possible explanations for observed gender inequality in earnings?

Context for Use

This exercise was developed for use in an introductory sociology course. The exercise was presented as part of a unit to explore the impact of gender on the earnings of full-time workers in general and within a specific occupation.

Description and Teaching Materials

Exercises: PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 132kB Mar2 09)
Exercises: DOC (Microsoft Word 65kB Mar2 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity uses two customized data sets made from the 2000 Census and guides students through data manipulation using WebCHIP software found at DataCounts!. To open WebCHIP with the dataset for the activity, please see instructions and links in the exercise documents under teaching materials. For more information on how to use WebCHIP, see the How To section on DataCounts!

Assessment

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References and Resources

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