Today is Equal Pay day, a day when a woman finally catches up to what a man doing the same job made in 2013. #Truthbombs, ya’ll. This is not a day to be celebrated, but to instead bring awareness to the stereotypes that clench our culture and continuing to infiltrate in our economy. Even when women work full-time, year-round, they still only make 77 percent (on average) of what men in their field make. Over the course of their working lives, women make between $400,000 and $2 million less than they would if they were paid fairly. I’m pretty sure this is a form of robbery.
It’s also a known fact that women have outnumbered men in attending and graduating from higher education institutions. I can verify this since James Madison University was 60 percent female and 40 percent male when I attended, which made the dating scene um…interesting.
Anywho! With that factoid tucked in our belt of knowledge it’s practical to draw the conclusion that more women in the work force have more education and/or equal education as their male colleagues. So if this ain’t no Mad Men party, why don’t we all make the same pay for the same work? Seems logical, given the evidence.
A lot of this discrimination stems from pay-secrecy policies issued by employers that punish employees if they utter a peep about salary. Ridiculous? Absolutely. But right now there is no federal law that broadly prohibits employers from penalizing and even firing employees just for talking about their salaries. At my full-time gig I don’t think there’s a policy in regards to pay, however, culturally it’s simply “not done.” People, in general, are hush hush about money in real dollars and cents, however, many have no problem flaunting their new designer handbag or new revved up ride that just rolled of the showroom floor in all its shiny glory.
I’m not sure if you’re aware of Lilly Ledbetter, she’s a women’s equality activist and back in her years working with Goodyear she was a victim of this discrimination. She worked for Goodyear from 1979-1998 and on her first day she was told to never discuss her pay, and it wasn’t until 10 years after she started working when an anonymous source dropped a letter in her locker that she realized she was being paid 40 percent less than her male colleagues in the same job title. This resulted in a Supreme Court Case (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.) in the late 2007.
Today many women’s, labor, community groups are pushing a new bill in the Senate called the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will help close the wage gap between women and men working identical jobs and stiffen the penalties for corporations who continue to discriminate. The Paycheck Fairness Act will also be a much-needed update to the 50-year-old Equal Pay Act that was signed during the Kennedy administration.
Please take action and tell your Senator to SHOW ME WOMEN THE MONEY!