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April 14 2016

Equal Pay Day Spotlights Stubborn Wage Gap Between The Sexes

Fayette Advocate
featuring Sabrina Schaeffer and Carrie L. Lukas

The United States is the only nation in the developed world that doesn't mandate maternity leave with pay.

Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages. It can also hurt qualified men who get passed over for jobs given to women, because an employer would rather hire the person they can pay the least. A recent study by Glassdoor, for instance, found women earned 95 cents for every dollar their male colleagues doing the same job were paid.

First, let's review the facts: on average, American women make 79 cents for every dollar men make, according to USA Today. The story is similar among cardiologists: Men made 29% - or about $97,000 a year - more than women. Stereotyping still leads girls to be steered toward lower-paid professions, including "helping" careers, the congressional researchers found, while, in a vicious circle, professions that are dominated by women are often less valued and therefore pay less. Louisiana women earn - on average - 65 cents for every dollar Louisiana men earn.

In conjunction with this year's "Equal Pay Day", or the day it has been determined that women's average earnings "catch up" to men's earnings from the previous year, the Independent Women's Forum (IWF) released a report of suggested policy reforms to address the unique set of challenges now facing women in the workplace.

- A woman in the United States must work about four extra months to earn the same as her male counterpart. There is no way, I thought, that such a huge wage gap could exist simply because we have not asked for more money.

The good news is that the gender pay gap is getting smaller. In 2015, the women's median was $39,621; the men's was $50,383.

"Equal pay for equal work should be a fundamental principle of our economy", President Obama said Tuesday.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed a law Monday to increase the pay employers must give workers who take time off to care for family members. The study doesn't take into account the "hours gap", since the data does not include the pay of part-time workers.

During the hiring process, companies offer women anywhere from 3 percent to 30 percent less than their male counterparts, according to Hired.

"It's hard to determine whether this is a symptom of unconscious gender bias in the hiring process or results from an ongoing cycle of women being underpaid, setting their salary expectations too low and ultimately receiving less in subsequent roles", data scientist Jessica Kirkpatrick, the report's author, noted.

GoDaddy said past year that its women employees get paid more than men do on the whole. "Everybody cares about equal pay". 

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Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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