Although the overall wage gap stands at 23 cents when salaries of fulltime male and female workers are compared, it varies by key factors such as industry and occupation. In fact, the wage gap is relatively tiny in some occupations and in others it is startling large. But no matter the industry and no matter the occupation, the gender wage gap persists.
Here's an interesting fact — in the federal government, the wage gap is much smaller than in the private sector. A GAO report [PDF] has estimated that the gap in wage is about 11 percent. I expect in the coming months that there will be a lot more attention on the wage gap among federal workers. Why? Because the President has a new memorandum ordering the Office of Personnel Management to submit "a Government-wide strategy to address any gender pay gap in the Federal workforce." The order states that the government-wide strategy should include analysis of the ways in which alterations to the federal government's pay scales could reduce the wage gap and directs agencies to consider ways to promote greater transparency. Read more »
Next month is the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. And this week Vermont is showing policymakers around the country the best way to mark that day: fixing the equal pay laws. Vermont’s governor has signed a new, comprehensive equal pay law that targets a range of factors that contribute to the wage gap.
It also improves the process for ensuring that state government contractors are paying fair wages. And it goes after the pay penalty paid by mothers as well – it provides protections for new mothers who must express breast milk for their babies at work and includes protections for employees who request flexible work arrangements. It also sets the stage for a future paid family leave law in Vermont.
As children, we all learn the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. This basic rule, however, appears to have been left out of Robert’s Rules of Order, a widely used authority on parliamentary procedure and the basis for many of the rules in the U.S. Congress. Of course, we need rules and order, but if you’ve ever seen the Prime Minister’s Questions on CSPAN then you understand that parliamentary procedure does not dictate collegiality.
Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted on the rules of debate for H.R. 1120 – a bill concerning the functioning of the National Labor Relations Board. Unfortunately, a little discussion of the rules for debate in the House of Representatives is necessary, but I’ll keep it simple. For just about every bill introduced in the House, the Representatives first vote on the rules of debate for the bill. Before they take the vote, someone must “call the previous question” in order to end debate. Then the Representatives vote yes or no on the motion.
This is the kind of procedural rule that is confusing and obscure enough that the majority party in the House is able to use it to its advantage – and often does. This time it was used to prevent a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Doesn’t seem like they are following the Golden Rule now, does it?
It’s not too late, though! Yesterday morning, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) filed a discharge petition on the Paycheck Fairness Act that would force the bill to the House floor for a vote. Read more »
Equal Pay Day provides a moment to take stock of our progress during the 50 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act: today more women are in the labor force, women are pursuing post-secondary education at higher rates, and the pay gap between men and women has narrowed by 18 cents.
In 1963, the typical woman working full time, year round made just 59 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart. The wage gap was 41 cents.
And where things stood in 2011 . . .
In another act from across the pond, Adele’s album 21topped charts around the world.
Touch-tones gave way to touch-screens. I personally joined the ranks of what many people now considered the norm: owning a smartphone. Other technology that probably sounded like sci-fi in the 1960s but was commonplace in 2011: iPads, Kindles, Roku, and so on.
In 2011, the typical woman working full time, year round made just 77 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterpart. The wage gap is 23 cents.
When you look at the way some things have changed, 1963 feels like ancient history. . Yet there wage gap is one vestige of our past that’s alive and well – five decades later. Read more »
Equal Pay Day – the day in the year when women’s wages finally catch up to men’s from the previous year – is finally here. That it took 92 days into 2013 for this day to arrive is downright depressing.
For those readers too busy working hard for 77 cents on the dollar to read our extensive policy analysis released for the occasion, here is the CliffsNotes version of what you need to know.
What’s behind the wage gap?
There are a number of factors that contribute to unfair pay for women: Some of the key culprits are discrimination resulting in lower pay for women doing the same jobs as men, occupational segregation of women into low-paying jobs that are devalued precisely because they are done by women, the economic hit that women still take for providing care to their families due to the lack of employer or government-provided paid leave and paid sick days, and racial disparities.
It's Equal Pay Day -- the day in the year when women's wages finally catch up to men's from the previous year. For the occasion, NWLC has released a number of new fact sheets explaining the persistent wage gap and its impact on women and families. You'll see that today women still make $.77 for every dollar the typical man makes. There are lots of reasons we need to close the wage gap. Among the most important: it's just not right. It's hard to say it better than Donna Summer in She Works Hard for the Money.
Summer wrote this song about Onetta, a bathroom attendant she met at a restaurant who worked for "little money, just tips for pay." Like Onetta, millions of women are still clustered in low-wage jobs working hard for little pay, with women making up nearly 2/3 of workers paid the minimum wage. Fair pay would make a world of difference to these women and their families. Read more »
As a twenty-something woman with student loan debt, I think about money A LOT. So do my friends. It’s not uncommon for one of us to ask if we can hang out at someone’s house rather than at a happy hour to save money. It used to be that when we got together, sharing tips for saving and sympathizing about financial struggles were common topics of conversation, but talking about our pay was not. That is, until one day when we decided to set discomfort aside and put numbers on the table. It turned out that one of my friends was being paid significantly less than those of us with similar job responsibilities. That discussion gave her the information – and motivation – that she needed to successfully ask for and get a raise.
When employees can’t talk to their coworkers about what they are making, they have no way of knowing if they are being paid less. The Paycheck Fairness Act will ensure that employees can discuss pay without fear of retaliation. Read more »
Oh, glorious spring! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all of the metaphorical references to the significance of the season begin again. It’s time to renew, revive, recharge! Unfortunately, federal efforts to collect employee compensation data more closely resemble a tree in winter: frozen and dormant; its fruit trapped in its branches.
[T]here currently is no mechanism for federal enforcement agencies to detect widespread wage discrimination, even when it occurs in our nation’s largest employers.
If alarm bells aren’t going off inside your brain right now, here’s why they should be:
50 years after the Equal Pay Act became law, women are still paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to a man; yet, the government does not have the basic information it needs to enforce this law;
The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) already collect data to aid in the enforcement of other civil rights laws but still do not collect information about pay; and
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting AnnMarie Duchon. She testified before the House Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee that after learning she was being paid unfairly she was able to confirm the information with her coworkers and negotiate with her boss for a salary increase. Pretty impressive, right?
But unfortunately, the conversations had by AnnMarie would be banned in a lot of workplaces. In fact, a 2010 IWPR poll found that around half of private sector workers believe that they cannot share their salaries.
Policies and practices that keep women in the dark about pay disparities diminish their ability to enforce their rights to fair pay and allow unfair pay practices to flourish. My best evidence? Lilly Ledbetter. Goodyear, a federal contractor, had one of these insane punitive pay secrecy policies and Lilly Ledbetter worked there almost 20 years before learning that she was being paid less than her male coworkers. In case you’re counting, the money she lost not only hurt her ability to pay for basics like groceries and utilities, she is still losing money to this day because the discriminatory pay is reflected in her retirement. Read more »
April 9 is Equal Pay Day, representing the date in 2013 through which women must work to match what men earned in 2012, thanks to the persistent gap between men’s and women’s median earnings. Women working full time, year round in the United States are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, and the gap is even wider for women of color; black women working full time, year round are paid only 64 cents, and Hispanic women only 55 cents, for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.
Women are nearly two thirds of minimum wage earners in the United States today and represent a large majority in most of the ten largest low-paying occupations. Women’s concentration in such low-wage jobs is one of the reasons women still typically earn less than men. A woman working full time at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour makes just $14,500 in a year – thousands of dollars below the poverty line for a mom with two kids. Pay for tipped workers – like restaurant servers, who are about 70 percent women – can be even lower: the federal tipped minimum cash wage has been frozen at just $2.13 per hour for more than 20 years. Read more »