For those who think that men and women are treated equally in today’s workplace, consider this date: April 20. That’s Equal Pay Day, which marks how far women must work into 2010 to make as much as men made in 2009.
Women who work full time earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Even more shocking? It’s not getting better: census data shows that this wage gap widened between 2007 and 2008, from 77.8 percent to 77.1 percent. And as the AFL-CIO points out, the wage gap is even worse for women of color.
Here at FixOurJobs, we’ve heard from dozens of women who have experienced discrimination – not only from coworkers but also in their paychecks:
• Marilyn from New York was reprimanded by a male superior when she suggested fixing a discrepancy in her company’s payroll, where an older woman was making less than her younger male equivalents. He claimed it didn’t matter, because the older woman technically had a “different title,” even though she was clearly in the same salary grade.
• Deb from Northern California has been at the same large company for 24 years, where “good old boys is taken to a new level” – the male executives expensing everything from coffee to gourmet meals is casually overlooked. All this while the company’s female employees make a salary far below industry standards.
• Jane from Colorado has worked at a large retail store for 30 years – and now many of her female coworkers are having their positions “revised” by the company. Translation? The store is firing or cutting wages for many employees – all middle aged women – by eliminating a particular job title.
These are only three examples of incidents happening all over the country. Even now, in 2010, “equal pay for equal work” is yet to be a reality.
Fortunately, there is something we can do: pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (S.182), which would close loopholes that still allow employers to discriminate based on sex. The bill has passed the House, but is stalled in the Senate. If the pay gap makes you angry please contact your Senator here.