WHAT DOES EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK MEAN ?
In nearly every line of work, women face a pay gap. Among the many occupations studied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women’s earnings are higher than men’s in only a handful.
Jobs traditionally associated with men (like computer programming and aerospace engineering) tend to pay better than traditionally “female” jobs (like nursing and administrative support). Even in jobs where the same level of skill is required, jobs associated with men tend to pay more. Parking lot attendants, who are predominantly men, are paid more on average than child care workers, who are predominantly women, even though child care workers are increasingly required to obtain postsecondary education.
Over the past 50 years, women have started to enter jobs that were once occupied almost entirely by men, but women and men still tend to work in different kinds of jobs. This segregation by occupation is a major factor behind the pay gap. But it’s not the whole story.
WHAT IS THE PAY GAP ( WAGE GAP ) ?
FEDERAL PUBLIC POLICY ON EQUAL PAY
The pay gap is real and pervasive, and it affects all women. There is no one silver bullet to fix the problem. Rather, individuals, employers, and communities need to take action.
Congress has a history of considering, and in some cases enacting, laws that address discrimination in employment. Yet these legal protections have not ensured equal pay for women and men.
With American Association of University Women (AAUW)’s support, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law on January 29, 2009. This law lengthens the time period in which employees can bring legal action for pay discrimination lawsuits. It clarifies that pay discrimination can occur when a pay decision is made, when an employee is subject to that decision, or at any time that an employee is injured by it.
Other pending legislative measures include the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Fair Pay Act, and the Pay Equity for All Act, which would expand fair pay protections and strengthen enforcement efforts.
On Equal Pay Day in 2014, Obama signed two AAUW-supported executive orders addressing pay discrimination and subsequently worked to add regulations to increase pay protections. However, in 2017 President Donald Trump rescinded several equal pay protections, including rolling back requirements for federal contractors to comply with labor and civil rights laws and halting implementation of a data collection tool to increase wage transparency.
Federal budgets need to ensure adequate enforcement of all civil rights laws through sufficient funding and staffing of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the various civil rights divisions. The Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, the only federal agency devoted to the concerns of women in the workplace, should be fully funded to continue its important work on fair pay issues.
For more Information and resources :
American Association of University Women
Economic Policy Institute
Equal Pay Today
Institute for Women and Policy Research
Movement Advancement Project
National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW)
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Women’s Law Center
People for the American Way
Berkley Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
Bryan Wood Law
Washington Center for Equitable Growth