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Women Are STILL Paid Less Than Men – What Can You Do?

Women Are STILL Paid Less Than Men – What Can You Do?

There was general rejoicing last year when the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act became the first major act of Congress signed into law by President Obama.  The law expanded workers’ rights to sue in cases of wage discrimination, relaxing the statute of limitations which had kept Lilly Ledbetter, “who at the end of a 19-year career as a supervisor in a tire factory complained that she had been paid less than men.”

And certainly, I don’t think anyone’s debating the fact that this was a monumental event for women’s rights.  But our tendency, when landmark legislation passes, seems to be to ignore the other parts of the issue that are more difficult to solve.  And as a college junior staring down the barrel of an unfriendly job market, I would very much like to direct our attention back to the fact that on average, U.S. women earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men.  The wage gap widens as women grow older and it also carries into retirement.  And the numbers are much worse for minority women.  The implications are clear: the Lilly Ledbetter Act was a good first step.  But we have far to go before women find themselves at economic parity with their male colleagues.

This is why the Paycheck Fairness Act, introduced January 2009 by then-Senator Hillary Clinton and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, designed to strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963, is so crucial.  The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on January 9, 2009, but action by the Senate is still pending.  According to the National Women’s Law Center, the bill “would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the EPA and barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages. The bill also allows women to receive the same remedies for sex-based pay discrimination that are currently available to those subject to discrimination based on race and national origin.”

Women are now half the workforce.  But as I and other Care2 bloggers have written before, this doesn’t mean that we’re being paid equally or fairly.

Join me, the American Association of University Women, and Care2 in signing this petition – urge your senator to support the Paycheck Fairness Act!

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Photo courtesy of Mirodac.

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6:55PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012


11:00PM PDT on May 23, 2012

@ Judy don't know. We have Jullia Gillard now and so far she's said nothing about it. And the figures are pretty identical to the US

4:00PM PDT on Apr 18, 2010

Why does this surprise anyone?

8:57AM PDT on Apr 18, 2010

I'm surprised to hear about the pay inequality in Australia. What does Kevin Rudd say??

8:57AM PDT on Apr 18, 2010

For all of my years in the workforce, I still see the discrepancies between what men make and what women make. Despite laws against discrimination, the patriarchy still finds loopholes to get around them. They still can find a viable reason legally why the pay difference exists as well as why there are more men in upper adminstration. This happens everywhere whether you're in a factory or working at a university that touts equality and has anti-discrimination laws in place. There are still the medieval-minded males out there who think that women really belong at home and IF they have a job, they should be grateful for what they get. Take a look at some state road crews working and see 1) how many women are on the crew, 2) what their position is and 3) who is doing all of the work. You'll find maybe 2 "token" female employees at most. The majority are flaggers with a few RARE equipment operators. The guys are usually standing in a small group smoking butts, eating and chewing the fat while the women are working. As for the university setting, more women are in higher positions but still making LESS than a male counterpart. Excuses? Lack of experience or tenure, yada, yada, yada. I think the complaining males out there are angry because the women accomplish more work making them look lazy. Thus, they have to work a LITTLE harder themselves on the job.

5:22PM PDT on Apr 17, 2010

So, person A and person B have been doing exactly the same job for exactly the same time, working exactly the same hours per day, but they don't receive the same salary... what kind of absurdity is this?

1:30PM PDT on Apr 16, 2010

Not only are we a certain percentage of the work force, but many times we are single parents trying to juggle work, childcare, raising a child and our own self-health at the same time. Ask your normal "Joe" to do this and good luck.

10:53PM PDT on Apr 14, 2010

Women support women owned business and help wherever possible another woman trying to start her own business. Quit supporting the offenders who discriminate against women in the workplace. Women do a heck of alot more shopping than men and have the power to " boycott" by doing research before buying.

10:46PM PDT on Apr 14, 2010

Bob M. Everyone pays one way or another! Women pay with their souls. When you get that sex change operation and have to walk on my side of the street as a woman, then and only then can you make an accurate statement, otherwise, shut your pie hole.

4:07PM PDT on Apr 14, 2010

Last month I checked the Australian Fedural Govt laws on minimum wages. I was shocked to see there was one figure for men and another for women. Guess which one was lower? We also have a law in the Human Rights dept on discrimination from sex to race to religion etc. I just don't get it. Maybe someone should take the Govt to court for discrimination in the legal minimum wages. It just makes sense doesn't it, but nothings happening.

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