According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2013, women who worked full time earned, on average, only 78 cents for every dollar men earned. The figures are even worse for women of color. African American women earned only approximately 64 cents and Latinas only 56 cents for each dollar earned by a white male.
The Paycheck Fairness Act will help secure equal pay for equal work for all Americans. The bill would update the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a law that has not been able to achieve its promise of closing the wage gap because of limited enforcement tools and inadequate remedies. The Paycheck Fairness Act would make critical changes to the law, including:
- requiring employers to demonstrate that wage differentials are based on factors other than sex;
- prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about their employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages;
- permitting reasonable comparisons between employees within clearly defined geographical areas to determine fair wages;
- strengthening penalties for equal pay violations;
- directing the Department of Labor to assist employers and collect wage-related data; and
- authorizing additional training for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission staff to better identify and handle wage disputes.
The time has come to make equal pay a reality. During this climate of unprecedented economic uncertainty, nothing could be more important than ensuring that all workers receive equal pay for equal work.
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Women’s Equal Pay for Equal Work
Equal pay for equal work has been a topic of debate and women have been struggling for it in almost everything they do and for many years now. This paper will explore some of the causes of wage differences between women and men as well as Acts that have been put in place to deal with the issue. The article will also analyze the reasons as to why for many years now, there was disparity in wages.
It is now illegal to pay women and men different wages for the same. This follows the implementation of Equal Pay Act of 1963. There is no solid argument against payment equality for same work between both genders. It is also evident that men do some jobs better than women and in many cases, equal work is not solely considered a pay determinant (E.laws.gov.on.ca, 2014.p.1).
Traditionally in the American society, a woman was entitled with the responsibility of being a homemaker or being a caretaker. Even when they went against this kind of stereotype to do other jobs, they are given the same opportunity when it comes to settling for a specific job. Women are supposed to receive an equal pay just like men based on the fact that they are sole providers of their families.
In 1940’s men were also fully responsible for their families. The roles were however interrupted following the World War II when men went fighting. This forced many women to take up labor force duties and even though many of them did the same jobs as men, the pay was different. When determining pay rates, there are two factors that are considered. Supply of labor for a particular job is one of the factors.
For instance, if skilled labors are few, the pay will be high (Levine, 2004, p. 1). Secondly, the employer, government or trader unions can decide salaries and wages for their employees. It is a fact that women are paid low wages and salaries in many parts of the globe despite the fact that they did same jobs as the men. This is an indication that unions do not focus more on the duties carried out by women.
Similarly, the number of women is high and can comfortably work for a short period. Several arguments have also been raised against women’s equal pay. Single women for instance are not supposed to earn similar salaries like married men. It is argued that a married woman’s pay is extra and it is basic for the family of a married man on the other hand.
For this reason, we can reflect different ethnic and national customs of the Far East because we are focusing on western countries where real conditions like these exist for instance, in the United States of America as well as Europe.
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Britain was one the first countries to be fully industrialized across the globe between 1733 and 1850. It’s thought about women was based on commercial and industrial flag of Britain overseas and it followed local discrimination of women. Even so, many women have expanded this legend with individual hard work and can now do the same jobs and duties just like their male counterparts.
Women presently cannot be prevented from doing what they wish or want to do. The source of the issue therefore can be traced to British background (Levine, 2004, p. 45). Women were also not supposed to earn any money between 1733 and 1914 in Britain. Lower class women were charged with the responsibility of assisting their men in mills, foundries and in fields.
Development of different factories also forced many people to settle in towns. This led to increase in prices but the pay for men remained constant forcing women to work and support their families. Many married women today work mainly to economically sustain themselves and to enhance their standards of living. There is no reason as to why women should not be given specific jobs and receive the rightful pay for the hob, not their gender.
It was also indicated that in a dollar that a man earns, women were entitled to 77cents. This is not good bearing in mind that women are supposed to earn same amount as men. Such figures were even worse for Latinas and African-American women who earned 55 and 64 cents respectively for each dollar that a white man earned.
There are also many reasons that explain the reason as to why women earned less than men and also ways in which individuals considered a determinant for men and women pay. Many attempts have also been made to solve the inequality issue. There two schools of thoughts that can explain the gender issue including the human capital theory mainly focused on personal characteristics of women and men.
Sex segregation is also another theory that explains issue. It focuses on demand side and job features in which women and men work typically. Additionally, it deals with decisions that women make, for example, barriers that women face (American Civil Liberties Union, 2014. P. 1).
The human capital theory also explains why women earn less compared to men. According to Levin (2004, p. 4), women earn less than men because of division of labor in the family and it leads to productivity disparity between the genders. Probable family chores are believed to influence women’s decision on the type and amount of investment in training and education. It is also indicated that women are more likely to spend less time in labor force compared to men thus, contributing to their low income levels.
According to the theory, women also invest in smaller human capital, thus lowering their productivity and making them earn low pay compared to men. Irregular employment history of the women is also another cause for low wages amongst them. It is debated that women who expect to be irregular in their jobs often opt for jobs that can easily accommodate them (Thinkprogress.org, 2014, p. 1).
It is therefore an indication that women can easily settle for jobs that do not necessarily tally with their skills. The theory however does not explain low pay for women but also disparities in occupational distribution of both genders. Sex segregation is also an issue that explains wage differences between women and men. It takes a look and women and men in different types of work.
Work related segregation of genders has to some extent reduced because males took over jobs that were considered to be for the women for example social workers, nurses and librarians. There was also a reduction of sex segregation in the 1970’s because women and men were joining neutral jobs.
Additionally, the number of women who took over male dominated jobs such as administrative, managerial and professional work in the 1970’s increased significantly. Job distribution amongst women and men has also converged continuously at a low pace in the past decades. Research also indicates that there are measures that have been put in place to reducing women pay and enhancing a woman’s ability to move from one job to the other, thus lessening family burden for the woman.
This is an indication that woman can accept a lower pay just to enjoy a flexible timetable. There are different factors that can make a person quit a job for instance illness, the need for emotional assistance and participation in different activities. The way in which women are portrayed in the media also has an effect on job discrimination. Many individuals wouldn’t want to relate to the media with a woman’s paycheck but plays a crucial role than they possibly thought.
Choice of job is additionally another reason for wage differences. The American Association of University carried out a research study and indicates that women account for 78 percent and 18 percent education and engineering majors respectively. Many of the women do not want to be engaged it dangerous jobs, which in most cases pay high. Such decisions have also impacted many statistics regarding pay inequality.
The issue of pay inequality has also been highly debated and motherhood penalty is one of the reasons that would explain the scenario. There are mothers who would settle for low paying careers to be able to combine them with parenting. Additionally, mothers earn less because of their children’s needs making them less productive in their workplaces.
The effect of Glass ceiling is another cause for wage disparity. This effect shows that a person’s gender offers significant limitations towards the kind of job one can engage in and it becomes highly challenging as one advance in his career. The effect also prevents women from getting promotions and such obstacles exist despite educational qualifications and achievements.
President Obama recently stated that he has two daughters and he doesn’t want them to earn lesser than men. He supported Lilly Ledbetter Act that tried to bridge the gap between women and men pay. There have been many attempts to close the salaries gap over the years and Equal Pay Act of 1963 is one of the acts that required equal pay for both genders for equal jobs in same establishment.
After the passing of the Act, the US government established the U.S Equal Employment Agency to put into effect national regulations and rules that makes it unlawful to differentiate job applicants or employees. The Equal Pay act therefore plays a crucial role in preventing inequality by law.
Later on, the Paycheck Fairness Act was implemented to help workers secure equal pay for equal work for all Americans (American Civil Liberties Union, 2014, p. 1). The law would lead to significant changes to the law including under the Act, employers are expected to demonstrate wage differences based on many factors other than gender, enhancing penalties for employers who violate the Act, preventing workers against retaliation especially those that want to offer information on their personal wages, directing labor department to help employers gather wages details and allowing them to compare salaries in defined geographical areas.
Gender wage differences in conclusion still exist even though in low rates. However, with implementation of many acts, men and women are likely to earn equal pay. Women are charged with the responsibility of taking care of their homes and their children in many American families. Even so, the trend is changing because there are many opportunities for women in labor force market.
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American Civil Liberties Union. (2014). Equal pay for equal work: pass the paycheck fairness act. [Online] Retrieved from: https://www.aclu.org/womens-rights/equal-pay-equal-work-pass-paycheck-fairness-act [Accessed: 21 Feb 2014].
E-laws.gov.on.ca. (2014). Pay equity act, r.s.o. 1990, c. p.7. [Online] Retrieved from: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90p07_e.htm [Accessed: 21 Feb 2014].
Thinkprogress.org. (2014). How states are leading the way on equal pay for women. [Online] Retrieved from: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/05/17/2030071/how-states-are-leading-the-way-on-equal-pay-for-women/ [Accessed: 21 Feb 2014].
Levine. (2004). The Gender Wage Gap and Pay Equity: Is Comparable Worth the Next
Step: CRS Report for Congress. The Library of Congress