Investigating the Wage Gap in a Math Class

Sherry McLean

Lesson Adapted from High School Mathematics Lessons to Explore, Understand, and Respond to Social Injustice

DSJ Objective

Investigate the wage gap and the effects of intersectionalities related to ableism, race, and gender.

Math Objective

Analyze graphs and construct equation models involving covariational relationships. Extrapolate data points by solving equations.

Introduction to Lesson

Watch Finansforbundet on Equal Pay as a class. [2min 36sec video where paired children (one male/one female) complete a task, but the male child is rewarded with more treats than the female.]

Discussion Questions

How did the females react to the difference in rewards? How did the males? Why do you men get paid more than women? Do you think men would or should be paid more in female-dominated fields? What are the consequences of the wage gap disparity? Does the wage gap exist only between men and women?


“Investigating the Wage Gap: Race and Gender”

Discussion Questions

What factors influence the gains that have already been made? What might be done to make sure those gains continue? Why do you think race plays a role in pay? Should pay be equal by gender? Race? Why or why not?


“Investigating the Wage Gap: Race, Gender, and Ability”

Discussion Questions

How did you determine the impact a disability has on the pay for each race and gender? Is it the same impact for both men and women? All races? How did the impact change when you considered the intersectionality of ability, race, and gender? What other factors did you consider when determining the wage gap in the intersectionality of ability, race, and gender? What characteristic (ability, race, or gender) has gained (closed the gap) the most over time? Why do you think that is?


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