Unequal Pay Is a Form Of Gender Discrimination

Statistics show that women frequently earn less

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Men are not supposed to be paid more for performing a particular job just because they are men. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 made it a legal federal requirement that pay scales for identical work be the same regardless of whether the employee doing the labor is male or female. If a woman works the same hours, performs the same tasks, and has to meet the same goals for her employer as a man does, she is entitled to equal pay.

When women are paid less than men based on their gender, it is a form of sex discrimination and it is illegal.

The following statistics show how women are often underpaid in the United States.

Pay Inequality - Women Earn Less Than Men Across the Board

  • Women earned only 83 percent of what men earned working comparable hours in 2015, according to a Pew Research Center study. This is markedly better than in 1980, however, when women earned only 67 cents for each dollar earned by males. 
  • The U.S. Census Bureau puts the figure at even less—80 percent of what men earn—when only year-round full-time employees are considered. 
  • The percentage increases somewhat for female workers between the ages of 25 and 34, indicating that older women and young women fare worse when it comes to pay equality. Women in this age demographic earned 90 percent of men's salaries and wages, although this is still significantly less than equal. 
  • Women must work on average an additional 44 days to earn the same annual salary as their male counterparts. 
  • Even in jobs categories such as child care that are predominantly occupied by women, they still only earn about 95 percent of men's wages for performing the same jobs.

Women Work Longer To Get Promoted

According to UrbanMinistry.org, "women may work longer to receive the promotions that provide access to higher pay.

For example, among school principals, women have an average of 3 years longer as teachers than men do." However, the Pew Research Center found that this is at least partly attributable to the fact that women more often take breaks from work to care for their families. About one in four women reported that they either took extended time off or reduced their working hours due to childbirth and to tend to family issues. 

The Equal Pay Act

The Equal Pay Act does not mandate that jobs held by men and women must be identical for purposes of receiving the same pay, but they should be "substantially similar," which is a governmental way of saying that each performs much the same duties regardless of job title. The Act permits aggrieved workers to take their matters up directly with the state or federal court system without first making a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Employers are not permitted to equalize pay in the face of a complaint by reducing the wages or salary of the higher paid employee.