Gender Wage Gap

Grade Range: 9-12
Resource Type(s): Reviewed Websites, Primary Sources, Lessons & Activities
Duration: 90 minutes
Date Posted: 10/19/2016

This historical investigation is aligned with the C3 Framework and is from

This twelfth grade annotated inquiry leads students through an investigation of a hotly debated issue in the United States: the gender wage gap.  The compelling question “What should we do about the gender wage gap?” asks students to grapple not only with how to quantify and interpret the gap but also to consider ways of addressing the problem. Throughout the inquiry, students consider the degree to which economic inequality reflects social, political, or economic injustices or whether it simply reflects individual choices and the role the government should play in decreasing income inequality. Although this inquiry is rooted in a question about economics, no social issue is fully understood without examining a range of economic, historical, geographic, and political concepts in order to craft a full-bodied, evidence-based argument. This inquiry looks at the complexity of the gender wage gap issue through all four social studies disciplines. Students examine the structural factors that influence women’s choices as well as historical (e.g., Equal Pay Act of 1963) and pending (e.g., Paycheck Fairness Act) legislative efforts. Ultimately, students must find a way to measure the gender wage gap, determine if it is an issue worth addressing, and, if so, how to best address it, including private and public sector solutions.

National Standards

United States History Standards (Grades 5-12)

Historical Thinking Standards (Grades 5-12)

Common Core State Standards (Grades K-12)

Common Core State Standards (Grades 9-10)

Common Core State Standards (Grades 11-12)

College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards (Grades 9-12)