Saturday, May 22, 2010

Unequal Pay after 47 Years

Tell me. Does rent for women cost less than their male counterparts? Do women only get discounts for food from the grocery store? No? Then tell me why there is a gap in the wages that men and women earn?

We live in a country that stands for equality and freedom for all, but when it comes to equal pay, Uncle Sam turns the other cheek. What ever happened to equality between men and women?

I don't know if it's just me, but I thought that there was some Equal Pay Act that was signed in 1963. Isn't it illegal for employers to pay unequal wages to men and women who hold the same job and do the same work?
At the time of the EPA's passage, women earned only 58 cents for every dollar earned by men. By 2006, that rate had only increased to 77 cents, an improvement of less than half a penny a year. Minority women fare the worst. African-American women earn just 64 cents to every dollar earned by white men, and for Hispanic women that figure drops to merely 52 cents per dollar. Why is there still such a disparity?
Here are the facts according to the IWPR. "$434,000 is the median amount that a full-time female worker loses in wages over a 40-year period as a direct result of the gender pay gap, also known as the "career wage gap. 78 cents is the amount that the average, full-time working woman makes for every $1 a man makes over a year. I'm pissed. Where's my money?
This loss of money affects the livelihood of women in a very devastating way. A report from the AFL-CIO and the Institute for Women's Policy Research found that if women were paid fairly, family incomes would rise and poverty levels would fall.

Single women would take home 17 percent more in income if they were paid fairly. This would lead to a 50 percent reduction in poverty for these women, from 25.3 percent to 12.6 percent. Married women would receive 6 percent more if they were paid fairly. This would lead to a 62 percent reduction in poverty for these women, from 2.1 percent to 0.8 percent.

 The wage gap has narrowed over time since the beginning of the last century, but it is still significant. Women earned 59% of the wages men earned in 1963; in 2008 they earned 77% of men's wages—an improvement of about half a penny per dollar earned every year.

There has been some progress in the direction of equality in pay recently though. In 2009, President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which allows victims of pay inequity to file a complaint with the government against their employer within 180 days of their last paycheck. This Act is named after a former employee of Goodyear who alleged that she was paid 15-40 percent less than her male counterparts. President Obama has vowed to reduce the wage gap between the genders. Currently women make approximately 80 cents for every dollar that men earn.

Women have made enormous progress in the workforce since the Equal Pay Act, but the fact still remains the same four-and-a-half decades later, that the basic goal of the act has not been realized. Women work just as hard as men do and are still not paid in the same amount that men are paid. When is that going to change?

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