Equal Pay -- 45 Years Later

In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, which stated:
(d) (1) No employer having employees subject to any provisions of this section shall discriminate, within any establishment in which such employees are employed, between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees in such establishment at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to employees of the opposite sex in such establishment for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions
Gee, that sounds so . . . . How shall I say it? . . . . . Egalitarian? Utopian? Lofty?


How about: Simple. Logical. Fair. A No-Brainer.

The statistics below are for all women and men in the USA:
In 1970, women, on average, earned 61 cents for every dollar men earned.
In 1985, women earned 65 cents for every dollar men earned.
In 2000, women earned 74 cents for every dollar men earned.
Today, women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn.
On average, African-American women earn 63 cents, and Latinas earn 52 cents for every dollar paid to white men today.

Which starts to look . . . . how shall I say it? . . . . .

Oh, I know! -- Stupid. Sexist. Racist. UNFAIR.

In the nearly half-a-century since Congress momentarily snapped out of its somnambulant haze and decided to address one of the most glaring evidences of institutionalized sexism, women have gained an overall average of 16 cents/dollar in wage equity.

Before you get out the champagne and start reminding me that this is progress, let's put it into perspective, shall we?

The gains that have been made toward overall pay equity since the EPA passed in 1963 calculate out at a rise of a third of a penny per year -- and women are still making 23% less than men.

Let's talk about that in real terms.

Take the median income of the US population -- $44,334/year. Now, whack off that 23% -- which leaves you with an annual income of $34,138/year. Anybody want to take that pay cut?

Anyone want to work an extra 9.2 hours every week just to make up the difference?

Anyone? Anyone?

Right. I thought not.

I've had people (yes, usually men, but not always) tell me that feminism is no longer necessary, because women actually have equality now. I've even had people tell me that women have more rights than men in our society (yes, usually asshats Men's Rights Advocates, but not always).

What I want to say to them on this day -- Blog for Fair Pay Day -- is this:

You think that I, as a woman, have more rights than a man, and that women are now treated equally in our culture?


Let's swap.

I'll take that 23% pay increase, and you can have all my "extra" rights (along with, of course, all the other misogynist, sexist crap that I've dealt with in my life).

So, do we have a deal?

(On a serious note, there is action for you to take regarding equal pay for women -- visit the National Women's Law Center and read about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, contact your Senators, and Blog for Fair Pay today, April 18th, 2008.)

h/t to Shark-fu, without whom I would have missed this completely.


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