Women working full-time, year-round earn only about 77 cents for every dollar earned by men in the same positions. Yes, that’s in 2010 — 46 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act (EPA) into law, making gender pay disparity illegal (data courtesy of The National Women’s Law Center and MomsRising.org).
To add insult to injury, a month ago, The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would expand damages under the EPA and help show employers how to get rid of unfair pay, was defeated in the U.S. Senate. This makes me spitting mad.
There is no equal pay for equal work in this country. Not only are women still low on the pay totem pole, but moms, single moms, and minority women are even lower. We’re the dirt under the pole. To wit: women without children typically make up to 90 cents to a man’s dollar. Mothers make 73 to 77 cents to a man’s dollar. Single moms make 56-66 cents to a man’s dollar. African American women earned just 63 cents for every man’s dollar, and Hispanic women earned only 52 cents on that man’s dollar. Now I’m beyond spitting — I’m madder than a nest of hornets — that’s just been stomped on by a man.
And I adore men (for the most part). I can’t blame most of you guys for this inexorable state of affairs. But I can blame those men who wield the world’s remote controls, including the Senators who voted against the PFA.
You may try to tell me that this inequality reflects women’s choices; such as the one I made 13 years ago, which was to work only part-time in order stay home with my kids. But that’s not the case.
“In fact, recent authoritative studies show that even when all relevant career and family
attributes are taken into account, there is still a significant, unexplained gap in men’s and
women’s earnings,” per the National Women’s Law Center’s pay equity fact sheet.
So that leaves basic gender discrimination as the culprit. And prejudice against women who choose to procreate and/or fall into the minority categories. And it’s not based on education or socio-economic status — the pay gap persists across all levels (or lack of levels). In fact, while earning a bachelor’s degree yields a median annual of income of $38,221 for women, it gives men, on average, $55,425 per year. That’s just patently wrong.
So what now? How do we redress this discrimination and illegality? Especially now that The Payment Fairness Act’s been dissed by the people we elected? Oh yeah, Senators, fyi, more than half of this country’s work force is now women. This is the first time in the history of the U.S. that working women outnumber working men. And we can and will vote.
I guess that’s the answer. N.C. Senator Kay Hagan voted FOR the act, while our other Senator, Richard Burr, voted against it. Yep, Hagan has ovaries, and Burr has, well, male apparatus. I’m sure he also probably has some song and dance about why something in the act was inappropriate for his constituency. Or it could just be that big “R” after his name that influenced his “no” vote.
At this time, it’s not clear whether or not the PFA can be revived or not in a slightly different form. But something has to be done to hold employers accountable for sexual pay discrimination.
I don’t accept this inequality. Do you?