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Throughout history there has been a long-standing battle with discrimination including race, gender and ethnicity. One of the most controversial forms of discrimination has been with the women population in the workplace regarding equal pay. Are women being paid less than men in a work places? There have been many cases where Women that are just as equally trained and educated as men and are not receiving equal pay compared to men. This form of inequality and discrimination dates back to centuries in which men are viewed as the “superior gender” and seen as the ones that provide for women.
Women now in modern times have opportunities that were not obtainable in the past decades. The gender pay gap is defined as the difference between the average earnings of men and women across the labor market.
Explanations for the gender wage gap fall into free categories: differences in human capital; differences in working conditions; and discrimination in pay, employment, and promotion.
The gender wage gap ultimately diminishes a women’s lifetime income and pension which can lead to poverty later in life for women. In America the gender pay gap is still a significantly large problem even though it has improved in the past few years. Even though, women make up almost half of the workforce in this country they keep being discriminated by being paid less than men in the labor market.
During World War II numerous American women obtaining jobs in war industries resulted in the National Labor Market urging employers to make adjustments which equalize wage or salary rates paid to females with the rates paid to males for comparable quality and quantity of work on the same or similar operations.
A political cartoon made by Naomi Parker called “Rosie the Riveter” represented the women that worked in factories during World War II in which sometimes even replaced men in jobs due to them joining the military.Rosie the Riveter became a political icon during World War II to represent the 6 million female workers during this time that helped by working in factories and building military weapons such as planes, tanks and bombs. These brave women stepped up and gave up their domestic responsibilities to take up the jobs that were primarily done by men. During this time they gained more recognition and liberties compared to previous times.
Toward the end of the war women were kicked out of jobs to make more room for returning veterans. Then during the 1960’s jobs were being categorized by gender with higher level jobs being exclusively for men. During this time women received from 59 to 64 cents for every dollar men earned occupying the same job. On June 10, 1963 John F. Kennedy signed the equal pay Act which eliminated the wage inequality based on sex and made it illegal to pay women less than men for the same job based on their gender. The Equal pay act which was created about fifty-four years ago helped towards the discrimination of women in the workforce but it didn’t completely eliminate it. The Equal Pay Act was enacted to protect everyone in the workforce regardless of their sex.
For the first few years the Equal Pay Act was successful as seen in the Supreme Court cases Corning Glass v. Brennan (1964)and Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co. (1970)which strengthened the Equal Pay Act. Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co. (1970)Ruled that jobs need to be “substantially equal” but not “identical” to fall under the projection of the Equal Pay Act. This court case helped outline the restrictions of equal pay for men and women. Another court case Corning Glass Works v. Brennan (1974) Ruled that employees cannot justify paying women lower wages because that is what they traditionally receive under the “going market rate.” A wage differential occurring “simply because men would not work at the low rates paid women” was unacceptable.These two court cases and the Equal pay Act were just the beginning in the battle for women to receive equal pay. Later on in 2017 the Paycheck Fairness Act was proposed to secure equal work for all Americans and added protections to the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
During the 1960s women would earn 61 cents for every dollar that men would earn while now they earn 78 cents for every dollar men earn. This measures to an annual $10,169. Even though the wage gap has improved since the 1900s there is still a long way to go in order to reach equal pay among men and women. Even when men and women are equally competent in the same job women are still paid less compared to men. In fact, when an equally qualified man and woman do the same job, the woman earns 97.8 cents for every dollar earned by the man.This trend has yet to change since the year 2016. In occupations in which women are just as qualified and educated as men they still don’t receive equal pay just because of their gender.In certain occupations women are even receiving billions of dollars less than men.
For example, in occupations such as physicians and surgeons they are receiving $19 billion less annually compared to if they were paid equally in that occupation. In 2016 and 2017 in the United States the gender wage gap for weekly earnings for full time workers did not progress. In 2017, the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 81.8 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage points since 2016, when the ratio was 81.9 percent, leaving a wage gap of 18.2 percentage points, nearly the same as the 18.1 percentage points in 2016. Women’s median weekly earnings for full-time work were $770 in 2017 compared with $941 for men. Most of the progress made between gender equality occurred during the 1980s and 1990s but in the last ten years the weekly gender earnings ratio between men and women has slowed considerably. Based on the median annual earnings it is proven that little improvement has been made in order to reach gender pay equality.
Raising women’s pay will not only will close the gender wage gap that has been visible all these years but it will better the economy as well. A 2017 study by the Institute of Women’s Policy Research found that poverty rate of working women would be cut in half if women earned as much as men. The research also said equal pay would add an additional income of $512.6 billion to the U.S economy if men’s wages stayed the same.By the year 2025 it would add a total of $28 trillion dollars to the U.S economy. In the past few years, even as the United States has pulled itself partway out of the jobs hole created by the Great Recession, some economists and technologists have warned that the economy is near a tipping point.By providing equal pay to women it can result in the U.S economy boasting and lower poverty rates.
“ The slow pace of change in median weekly earnings will result in longer delay to reach full pay equality. According to our research, if change continues at the same slow pace as it has done for the past fifty years, it will take 41 years-or until 2059- for women to finally reach pay parity. For Hispanic women it will take them until 2224 to reach pay parity and for black women it will take until 2119”. The gender wage gap will take years from now to close and will take even longer for hispanic and black women. The gender wage gap also varies depending on the state and congressional district. For example, in Louisiana women earn 69 cents to every dollar that men earn while in California they earn 89 cents for every dollar that men earn. Florida will be the first to reach pay parity in 2038 compared to other states such as Wyoming, Louisiana, and North Dakota which have the slowest progress in equal pay. Women shouldn't have to wait centuries to achieve pay equality in the workforce.
Even though women incline to have equally comparable participation rates compared to men studies have shown that 66% of women are part time workers. A decline in women labor force participation has been due to childbearing and child care responsibilities which have forced them to take up part time jobs compared to full time jobs. During Richard Nixon’s address to the nation on Labor Day he states that “We must open up new and equal opportunities to allow a person to grow in his job.” This nation provides opportunities for all its citizens regardless of their gender. Everyone is “created equal” yet women have yet to have the opportunity to be paid equal compared to men. Although there have been many attempts to close the gap , it still exists and it continues to not only affect woman but there family. As the years pass, woman's chance to be played equally as men continues to grow and the day that occurs, is when people will see the true meaning of everyone being “created equally”.
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