Friday, January 16, 2009

Equal Pay for Women Today


Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and Paycheck Fairness Act by a vote of 256-163. The Ledbetter Act, originally blocked by the Senate in April, was quickly back on the table for last week’s vote after the Supreme Court ruled portions of it unconstitutional. The plaintiff, Lily Ledbetter, was an employee at Goodyear Tires in Alabama for 19 years, and was the only female supervisor. While working, she discovered she was being paid 20% less than her male employees.

Both acts focus on equality pay for women and more resources to strengthen the training of women in the workforce. Women currently make 78 cents per dollar earned by a man, which the Institute of Women’s Policy Research found would cost women $400,000 to $2 million over a lifetime in lost wages .

The cost is much higher, however, for elder women currently retired (or close to); due to the wider pay disparity during their working years. Subsequently, this affects how much revenue elder women receive in Social Security payments, directly affecting their income and economic security. Pay inequity is a cumulative disadvantage women face throughout their working years which is then compounded upon retirement. There are few avenues available to women to overcome these financial realities.

Wider Opportunities for Women is optimistic about the future of both acts! WOW is also a signee to the letter sent to Congress .

Both acts are just one Senate vote away from reaching the President’s desk!

Please send your support by contacting your Senator today!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

From my (short) corporate experience, I've quickly learned this isn't only a pay issue. It's also an issue in how high-powered men and women executives are treated. Our first office manager was a very sweet, caring, diplomatic, and successful woman. The business owner (another woman) didn't like her. We now have a new male office manager, who treats everyone in our office horribly, like we are completely inferior to him. However, the owner loves him and thinks he's the best thing that could ever have happened to the business. I wish we could see social ideas evolve enough so that it's not expected that men should walk around bossing people around while women have to be sweet and quiet and never put up a fight. It's also frustrating to see him stuck in his 1950's ideals. I am normally a very outspoken individual, but the more I speak up, the less he likes me. I'm getting much farther being sweet and quiet and not making too many waves. It eats at me, but I have to keep this job, so what choice do I have? He expects everyone to accept his word as though he is God, and views anyone who questions any of his ideas as disrespectful and needing to be dealt with. All in all, we've come a long way in the fight for equality, but we still have a long, long way to go.

Anonymous said...

It is very depressing comment on the supposed equality in America. As a school teacher, when I bring up wage disparity my students are incredulous. It disheartens me to realize they will not realize the long strides that still must be made towards pay equality until they join the workforce. This pay inequality has long term effects for women, beyond just spending. It effects how much we can put away for retirement and to leave behind for own children and grandchildren.

Kevin said...

It's good news that the bill passed Congress, and was signed into law today. (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog_post/a_wonderful_day/).
The bill should do a lot to pressure businesses to make sure that there is pay equity between their male and female employees who are doing the same job, in order to avoid a lawsuit.
If I understand correctly it removes the statute of limitations for employees and former employees to sue the employers for gender biases in pay.
But I have a few questions about the bill, and maybe someone here can answer me. For what time can a discriminated against employee sue for? Is it as long as they've been working for, or is it just from this point forward? And how does the compensation work, is it full back pay or just some portion?