Senator Barbara Milkulski is holding a press conference later today to press the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act she recently introduced. But didn’t President Obama already kill the gender wage gap? Not quite. While Obama has long been touting the first bill he signed once in office, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, it only provides a woman more time to file a claim of discrimination. The Paycheck Fairness Act would go further by ensuring employees can discuss their salaries with each other—since it’s hard to root out pay discrimination if you don’t know how you stack up against everyone else.
Lilly Ledbetter certainly helps women who want to bring lawsuits against their employers by giving them more time to do so. In that way, Obama’s first act did recognize the problem of pay discrimination. But it’s a baby step forward in the march toward equal pay.
The numbers since its signing bear that out. According to Bloomberg, the number of pay discrimination complaints filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission actually fell from 2,268 when Obama signed the Act in 2009 to 2,191 last year. Meanwhile, the pay gap has widened from 77.8 in 2007 to 77.4 percent in 2010.
So what will it take to make the wage gap disappear? Why wouldn’t clearing the way for lawsuits get us there? Part of the answer is that Ledbetter only nibbled at the edges of an enormous, systemic problem. As I’vepreviously written, the causes of the gap range from a too-low minimum wage to decreased unionization levels. These kinds of issues won’t budge on a large scale even if women are emboldened to sue for equal pay.
The ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings rose by one percentage point since 2010 and reached a historical high of 82.2 percent. The narrowing of the weekly gender earnings gap from 18.8 percent to 17.8 percent, however, is solely due to real wages falling further for men than for women. Both men and women’s real earnings have declined since 2010; men’s real earnings declined by 2.1 percent (from $850 to $832 in 2011 dollars), women’s by 0.9 percent (from $690 to $684 in 2011 dollars).
by Ariane Hegewisch, Claudia Williams, Anlan Zhang (March 2012)
Submitted by sbanerjee on Mon, 04/18/2011 - 2:32pm
Equal pay is important for women's economic well-being and that of their families. When men and women are paid differently for comparable work, women have fewer resources to support themselves and their families, to invest in additional education for themselves and their children, and to provide for retirement.
This commonsense guide provides key facts about the gender pay gap in the United States, with explanations and resources to help you effectively advocate for pay equity.
Click here to read "The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap."
Submitted by sbanerjee on Thu, 04/07/2011 - 9:53am
Please join us for a “day before Equal Pay Day” luncheon, and learn about gender pay differences in law, engineering, academia and public relations. The panel will provide fresh evidence of pay inequities across these professions, even industries dominated by women. The program will also share new legislative and policy ideas for how to promote fair pay. AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE will moderate the briefing while Lisa Maatz, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations at AAUW, will address next steps in the fight for pay equity.
Hosted By the American Association of University Women (AAUW)
Panelists will include:
John W. Curtis, PhD, Director of Research and Public Policy, American Association of University Professors
Last week, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis sat down with Lilly Ledbetter--the former Goodyear employee who stood up to pay discrimination, and won! (eventually). The topic of discussion? The Paycheck Fairness Act. As Solis wrote in her blog post,
Like many women in today’s workplace, she was faced with a difficult choice. She could remain silent or she could speak up for herself, and in so doing speak out for countless other women across the nation who may have unknowingly faced a similar situation. I am grateful she had the courage to pursue the latter.
The wage gap has significant consequences to the economic security of women and families. Today, families are increasingly dependent on women’s wages. In married couple families, wives’ earnings account for 36 percent of family income, and approximately 2 million women have now become the sole breadwinner, supporting families with just over one-third of the usual family income.
The DC Women's Agenda, a program of Wider Opportunities for Women, recently released a gender analysis of the 2008 American Community Survey. They found that women remain in poverty even while working. Here are some of the stats they shared:
Women are eight times more likely to live in poverty than men in D.C.
Approximately 22% of women-headed households, working full or part time, live in poverty
Gender income disparities persist as men who worked full-time had an 8.5% increase in salary from 2007 to 2008 while their female counterparts had only a 2.3% increase.
April 28, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-BairdI post this today, in honor of Fair Pay Day, with a sense of both frustration and hope. I’m frustrated that three decades have gone by after the passage of the Equal Pay Act and we still don’t have pay equity. I’m frustrated that what progress we’ve made has been achingly slow and small. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, the wage gap has closed by less than half of one cent per year since the Equal Pay Act of 1963. At the current rate of progress, it will take 50 years to close the wage gap. This is simply intolerable. It is unacceptable that after decades of feminist lobbying, women continue to earn only 78 cents for every man’s dollar. In some occupations, the gap is even wider. Among finance and insurance occupations, women earn 55.2 cents on the dollar and the wage gap among physician surgeons is 63.5%. Even as I write this, I’m struck by Michael Kimmel’s recent comment at a panel I attended , questioning why we discuss women’s wages as a function of men’s wages. Why not make male privilege and the gendered dynamics of the economy more visible by reversing the equation? Men make $1.28 for every woman’s dollar. Despite this frustration, however, I remain optimistic. This optimism springs from an unlikely source: the economic downturn.