There is nothing more frustrating than learning you earned less money for doing the same work as someone else. Unfortunately, for women, that is often the case. As much as we want to believe the world has changed, equal pay for equal work is not yet the norm.
On average, women only earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. The wage gap is even larger for women of color. The gap exists in every state and in the country’s 50 largest metropolitan areas. Why is this type problem so prevalent?
Some say that women simply elect to take lower-paying jobs. Maybe more of them end up as teachers or nurses. Hmm…that’s only a tiny percentage of women. That can’t be the answer.
Some say women earn less because they are likely to go on maternity leave when a child is born. However, these days, men are assuming that role in record numbers. That also doesn’t address the fact that she did not earn equal pay before having a baby.
On April 9, 2013, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, signed by former President John F. Kenedy. Upon signing it, he remarked that it would be the end of “the unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wages than male employees for the same job.”
We are still waiting for that to come true. In the past few years, the Paycheck Fairness Act, meant to expand the Equal Pay Act, has failed to pass three times. What could be holding back the reigns of progress? In a word: sexism.