You’ve probably heard that men are paid more than women are paid over their lifetimes. But what does that mean? Does it mean that women are paid less for the same work? Or does it mean that women make less on average? The pay gap, and what it truly means is one of the most heavily debated topics in America. In this paper, rather than making it a simple yes or no answer, I will talk about both sides of the debate and their flaws and truths. The side against the legitimacy of the pay gap relies heavily on the idea that it’s based on an average that is only there because of the different life choices women make, while the other side of the argument proposes that companies don’t value women as much as men and therefore don’t give as beefy a paycheck.Women are slowly catching up to men, right now in America, men make about 20% more than their females counterparts. The gap has narrowed since the 1970s, due largely to women’s progress in education and workforce participation and to men’s wages rising at a slower rate. Still, the pay gap will not simply go away on its own. At the rate of change between 1960 and 2016, women are expected to reach pay equity with men in 2059. Yet is the because of a direct bias against women? Or the effects of different life choices?The first argument against the pay gap is based largely on the idea that the pay gap is based on an average. This means that women are paid the same for the same work , yet on average they work less and therefore make less on average. This has many reasons behind it such as women occupy more low tier jobs, In America the jobs most commonly occupied by women- nurses, teachers, secretaries and health aides are 80% women. These jobs don’t have very high wages compared to more male dominated fields such as Lawyers, Doctors and Engineers, where the divide is 70/30 in the males favor. Women also work less hours on average, taking more time off for vacation or for maternity. A poll done by the Economist found that women scaled back their work hours and efforts once becoming mothers, thus, reducing their incomes. An interesting fact I learned in my Econ class sophomore year was that women are less likely to ask for a promotion or raise than men. This may be due to woman being worried of being rejected or an environment in the workplace that has made women less confident in their abilities and dont believe they will get what they ask despite deserving it. This also decreases the chance of a woman getting a pay raise or promotion compared to their male co-workers. This creates the issue for women who are divorced or widowed, as they can often fall into poverty without a partner to help support the family. This also creates problems for woman in an abusive relationship, as they have to choose between financial turmoil or staying in the bad relationship. The counter to these arguments revolves around the idea the pay gap is leaning on a bias against women. This side of argument explains how women are not valued by companies as much as men and will be paid less , despite doing the same work. This is hard to notice since companies do not release their paychecks and co-workers don’t usually share their earnings with each other. Another phenomenon of the gap is that when women enter into traditionally male occupied jobs, the wages drop . As The New York Times reported, when more women began working in parks or running camps, for example, average hourly wages declined by 57 percentage points. Same goes for fields like design, housekeeping and biology. Conversely, when more men enter a traditionally female field, wages go up.What is even more interesting is how the pay gap begins to expand depending on the race of the woman, In 2014, black women in the U.S. earned 63 percent of what white men made. Latina women earned 54 percent. The National Women’s Law Center estimates that black women lose more than $877,000 over the course of a 40-year career as a result of the pay gap. Latina women lose more than $1,000,000. This raises another question , rather than what men and women are doing differently, what are white women and black women doing differently?The debate over the pay gap will continue without resolution for many more years, whether it’s because of pure malice against women, or lifestyle differences. One thing is certain, however, the gap is better closed than open. This would not only benefit women , but men alike, its more money! And who is against that?