Friday, April 22, 2011

77 cents

"When we talk about equal pay for equal work, women in the workplace are beginning to catch up. If we keep going at this current rate, we will achieve full equality in about 475 years. I don't know about you, but I can't wait that long." — Lya Sorano, founder of Atlanta Women in Business

WHEN I WROTE that for every dollar a man earns, a woman doing the same job earns 80 cents, apparently I was being overly optimistic. According to an April 20 op ed piece in the New York Times, data compiled by the US Census Bureau indicates it's more like 77 cents on the dollar. A bill called the Paycheck Fairness Act to address the gender wage gap was killed by Senate Republicans in December. Equal work, equal pay. Come on! How hard a concept is that to grasp?! But of course, it's not the concept; it's always all about money. There's still some small hope. 






77 Cents on the Dollar Isn’t Fair

By the New York Times Editorial Board

April 20, 2011

In a disappointing defeat for women, Senate Republicans worked overtime in December to ensure that a measure addressing gender-based wage discrimination never reached the Senate floor where it likely would have passed by a sizable majority. Fortunately, supporters of the Paycheck Fairness Act have not given up.


Last week, Senators Harry Reid, the majority leader from Nevada, and Barbara Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, reintroduced the bill. Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat of Connecticut, has reintroduced the legislation in the House.


Women now make up almost half of the American work force, but, according to data compiled by the Census Bureau, full-time female employees still make, on average, only 77 cents for every $1 earned by men.


The bill, a much-needed updating and strengthening of the nation’s half-century-old Equal Pay Act, would enhance remedies for victims of gender-based wage discrimination, shield employees from retaliation for sharing salary information with co-workers and require employers to show that wage differences are job-related rather than sex-based, and justified by business necessity.


President Obama has pledged to “keep up the fight” to pass the bill. In a recent radio address, he explained that he takes the issue personally, “as the father of two daughters who wants to see his girls grow up in a world where there are no limits to what they can achieve.”


With Republicans now in charge of the House and the Senate’s Democratic majority whittled down, securing the needed votes will be tough.


Women around the country — from both parties — need to speak up. Lawmakers might think twice about refusing to act if they knew that female voters were taking down the names of those who would rather please corporate interests than stand up for a woman’s right to earn equal pay for equal work.

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