We’re Still Fighting for Pay EquityMay 14, 2012
Although women are now entering higher education in larger numbers than men and represent the breadwinners or co-breadwinners in a majority of families, pay equity is still not an issue that we can cross off the agenda. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2010 median weekly earnings for women working full time was $669, while men in full-time positions earned $824. Over the course of a year, that adds up to a difference of almost $8,000. While the figures vary depending on education level and other factors, the bottom line is that women still aren’t making equal pay for equal work.
There are legislative means for achieving progress in pay equity. The Paycheck Fairness Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in the 111th Congress and fell only two votes short of overcoming a procedural hurdle in the Senate. The Senate is considering the bill again, and AAUW is gearing up to fight for its passage. You can help by reaching out to your senator and urging her or him to co-sponsor the bill (S. 797).
The issue has also been front and center in the media. Rachel Maddow argued recently on Meet the Press that those who think the pay gap is a myth have a different “factual understanding of the world.” Part of that understanding is that women should be paid equally for performing the same work as men. AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz spoke out on CNN, which aired a fact-checking segment on the clash between Maddow and Republican strategist Alex Castellanos in an effort to dispel confusion about the matter.
AAUW has long fought to end wage discrimination and to close the persistent wage gap that affects women of all ages, races, and education levels, regardless of their family decisions. Recent AAUW research uses concrete, state-by-state data to show that sex discrimination not only continues to be a problem in the workplace but also affects the incomes of all women. It’s time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and make progress toward ending gender pay discrimination.
This post was written by AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations Intern Madeline Shepherd.