The Issue of Equal Payment as a Discrimination Against Women in the Workforce

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“I am delighted today to approve the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits arbitrary discrimination against women in the payment of wages” (John F. Kennedy). Fifty-four years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act. This act calls for employers to provide men and women equal pay for equal work. In 1963 women were paid 59 cents for every dollar a man made. Later, in 2015 women received 79 cents to every male dollar. The gap is even worse for African American and Latina women, African American women receive 64 cents to every white man dollar while Latina women receive 56 cents.

Although there has been improvement since 1963, absolute payment equality has not yet been accomplished. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in order to close the wage gap. The Equal Pay Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 are simply not enough to provide equal pay for women. In 2014, the most recent year of which statistics are available from the Catalyst, full-time working women’s average salaries were $39,621 whereas the average was ,383 for men.

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That is a preposterous difference of $10,762.

The AAUW, or the American Association of University Women is a group founded in 1881 and is “a non-profit organization that advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, and research” (Fight for Fair Pay). In their most recent research report, Graduating to a Pay Gap, written in 2012, found that one year after graduating from college, women are paid an average of 82 cents for every dollar their male counterparts made.

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The reports also show that even when women work the same amount of hours per week, major in the same subject, and work in the same field, women continue to be paid 7 percent less than men. By those statistics, it is estimated that over about a 40-year career women lose 1 million dollars because of the pay gap. The simple question I ask is, how can the United States close the wage gap?

Perhaps the first step in closing the pay gap is to look at other countries wage difference, and how or if they are trying to reduce it. On March 8th, 2017, known as “International Women’s Day,” Iceland became the first country to make businesses prove that they provide equal pay to all employees regardless of sexuality, ethnicity, gender, or nationality. They will do this by having a new law that forces every corporation with 25 or more staff members to have a certificate confirming pay equality. Prior to this, for eight consecutive years the World Economic Forum has placed Iceland as first in the world for gender equality, when women in the small nation were still paid up to 18% less than men. In contrast to the “soon to be” equal pay in Iceland, a country with a significantly large gender wage gap is Korea.

According to the OECD or, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Korea has the largest pay gap with 36.6% between men and women. Many women in Korea end up quitting their jobs for childcare, thus leading to a large wage gap and decreasing the number of female workers with high-income. On the World Economic Forum’s list of best to worst countries with equal pay, the United States was ranked 45th out of 144. There are many countries above the United States that have closer pay between men and women. The U.S should aim to be number 1 on the list with a wage gap of 0.

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The Issue of Equal Payment as a Discrimination Against Women in the Workforce. (2023, Mar 23). Retrieved from

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