This article examines the issue of gender pay gap by identifying some of the issues involved and then explaining the challenges facing any remedial efforts, both globally and nationally.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Careers, man in society, economics, business, social sciences

Key Questions to Explore:

  • Why does the gender wage gap continue to exist?
  • What are the challenges that must be overcome to remedy this situation?
  • What is happening in Canada relative to gender wage gap?
Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

The wage gap between women and men has existed for decades. For example, in 1960 the ratio of women’s pay to that of men was approximately 60% while by 1999 it was about 80%. This wage gap, as outlined in the article, currently sits on average at 73 cents for women for every dollar earned by men. This data raises some interesting and important questions: Why, in this age of a focus on equality, does it exist at all and why is it taking so long to address this inequity?.

The article to be used with this lesson outlines some of the reasons for this inequity and examines the challenges facing a resolution. The article also explores some of the actions being taken around the world and in Canada which are designed to address some of the circumstances surrounding this issue.

This lesson will use the article to have the students develop an awareness of this issue and an understanding of some of the contributing factors. It will then require them to use this information and prepare a formal written assignment in which they outline what they believe are major causes of this problem and what steps they believe would be most appropriate to remedy this inequity.

Action (lesson plan and task):

NOTE: As this topic has the potential to have biased attitudes stated – either seriously suggested or done for humorous effect — be certain to ensure that all discussion is conducted in courteous and respectful manner.

  • Begin the lesson by asking the students to explain the term “wage gap.”
  • Once it is clear that it essentially means failure to pay equal wages for equal work, have the students suggest some reasons why this gap might exist at all.
  • Once they have done this explain to them that currently the wage gap between women and men is about 73 cents on the dollar.
  • At this point provide them with copies of the article and allow them time to read it.

Consolidation of Learning:

  •  Once they have read the article hold a plenary session and have them give their reactions to it.
  • Ask them what in the article they find both worrying and promising.
  • Once they have completed this discussion assign them the following task and allow them the remainder of the period to begin work.

In a formal, written essay outline what you believe to be the three major causes of the gender wage gap and what steps you think would be most appropriate to remedy this inequity.

Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

The students will:

  • be able to explain the current state of the wage gap between women and men.
  • outline some of the causes and challenges relative to this issue.
  • offer suggestions as to what might be done to address the circumstances surrounding this issue.

Confirming Activity:

  • The students will complete a formal essay in which they will outline what they believe are major causes of this problem and what steps they believe would be most appropriate to remedy this inequity.

NOTE: Although this assignment is not restricted to a five paragraph essay, if needed, the structure of a standard five paragraph essay may be found at

It is suggested that you give the students a guideline concerning the length of the essay.