Blogging for Equitable Pay: Reducing the Gender Wage Gap

Because it’s technically 18 April here today, I’m showing my solidarity with American women blogging for fair pay a little early. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, my one day of caring should actually be 22 April. Unfortunately for those who know me personally, Because it's technically 18 April here today, I'm showing my solidarity with American women blogging for fair pay a little early. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, my one day of caring should actually be 22 April. Unfortunately for those who know me personally, every day is my personal "fight against unequal pay" day.

The issue spans all societies in all countries around the world. Everywhere, even where the media and public rhetoric likes to tell us that the glass ceiling has been broken and equality has been achieved, women still earn less than men:

Women in the United States are still paid only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.

And for women of color, the numbers are even worse. African-American women earn 63 cents and Latinas earn 52 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
In Australia, the gender wage gap is slightly less, with women making roughly 84% what Australian men earn. This is something the director of the Centre for Life and Work at the University of South Australia, Barbara Pocock, attributes to Australia's high minimum wage:

"Women always benefit from generalised base rate improvements like the Fair Pay Commission delivered," Professor Pocock said. "That's why timely, sizeable adjustments to the minimum wage are absolutely critical to the gender pay gap."
Last month, OnlineOpinion.com.au evaluated women's employment conditions in Australia, and reminded us that:

women do more than twice as many hours of unpaid domestic work than men, provide the most unpaid childcare and family care, and do more voluntary work;
anywhere from 40 to 57 per cent of Australian women will experience physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Staggering statistics when we consider that Australia's population is now more than 21 million;
Australia and the US remain the only OECD countries without publicly funded maternity leave;w
women hold just 7 per cent of the top earner positions (80 positions out of total of 1,136);
a female CEO earns two-thirds the salary of her male counterpart;
in Human Resources, where women are more commonly found as top earners, the pay gap is still 43 per cent;
in 90 per cent of industry sectors, the median salary for women was less than that for men. There was no industry in which women were more likely than men to be top earners;
60 per cent of female top earners work in the bottom 100 ASX200 companies by market capitalisation; and
by May 2007 female average weekly earnings were just 83.6 per cent of males', evidencing a gender pay gap of 16.4 per cent.
In the article, author Kellie Tranter suggests a course of action to address these systemic inequalities faced by women:

The challenge from here is to make a change, and to do that we need to "unlearn" the emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of women within the home, within business, within government and within our society. The first place is to start is with the creators and manipulators of popular psychology. Just look at how women are deliberately portrayed in the media. It might sell products or improve ratings but it's not particularly helpful or healthy.
The National Committee on Pay Equity's proposed plan includes:

First, we need to keep affirmative action programs in place to make sure education, jobs and promotion opportunities are open and offered to qualified women.

Second, employers must examine and correct their pay practices. Employers can get help in examining their pay practices through equal pay self-audit guidelines from the US Department of Labor.

Third, women must stand up for equal pay and for themselves. If a prospective employer cannot show that women and men are paid equally for the job you're seeking, it makes sense to look elsewhere. Positive signs includes a hiring process that seeks diversity through affirmative action, written pay and benefit policies, job descriptions and evaluation procedures. A union for workers is another good sign. Women in unions earn 35% more than women in non-union workplaces.

Women who are paid less than men must discuss the problem with their employer. If there's a union ask their help. If discrimination persists, file a complaint with the local or state (name of agency for your city or state if possible) fair employment agencies or with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A fourth way to close the pay gap is through federal legislation such as the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Pay Act. That's not a solution popular with employers, but it may be necessary. For employers who continue to pay women less, legal penalties or EEOC action may be the only remedies.
I'm glad all of these bodies involved in raising awareness about pay equity have addressed the fact that the gender wage gap is inextricably linked to a host of gender equality issues: why "women's work" is undervalued, why women are more likely to be in minimum wage jobs, why women are more likely to be casually/temporarily employed, how women are implicitly and explicitly discriminated against in terms of accessing the highest positions in all industries.

Hopefully, a couple of days of awareness-raising will encourage our politicians to consider solutions.

 

 

The issue spans all societies in all countries around the world. Everywhere, even where the media and public rhetoric likes to tell us that the glass ceiling has been broken and equality has been achieved, women still earn less than men:

Women in the United States are still paid only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.

And for women of color, the numbers are even worse. African-American women earn 63 cents and Latinas earn 52 cents for every dollar paid to white men.

In Australia, the gender wage gap is slightly less, with women making roughly 84% what Australian men earn. This is something the director of the Centre for Life and Work at the University of South Australia, Barbara Pocock, attributes to Australia’s high minimum wage:

“Women always benefit from generalised base rate improvements like the Fair Pay Commission delivered,” Professor Pocock said. “That’s why timely, sizeable adjustments to the minimum wage are absolutely critical to the gender pay gap.”

Last month, OnlineOpinion.com.au evaluated women’s employment conditions in Australia, and reminded us that:

  • women do more than twice as many hours of unpaid domestic work than men, provide the most unpaid childcare and family care, and do more voluntary work;
  • anywhere from 40 to 57 per cent of Australian women will experience physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Staggering statistics when we consider that Australia’s population is now more than 21 million;
  • Australia and the US remain the only OECD countries without publicly funded maternity leave;w
    women hold just 7 per cent of the top earner positions (80 positions out of total of 1,136);
  • a female CEO earns two-thirds the salary of her male counterpart;
  • in Human Resources, where women are more commonly found as top earners, the pay gap is still 43 per cent;
  • in 90 per cent of industry sectors, the median salary for women was less than that for men. There was no industry in which women were more likely than men to be top earners;
  • 60 per cent of female top earners work in the bottom 100 ASX200 companies by market capitalisation; and
  • by May 2007 female average weekly earnings were just 83.6 per cent of males’, evidencing a gender pay gap of 16.4 per cent.

In the article, author Kellie Tranter suggests a course of action to address these systemic inequalities faced by women:

The challenge from here is to make a change, and to do that we need to “unlearn” the emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of women within the home, within business, within government and within our society. The first place is to start is with the creators and manipulators of popular psychology. Just look at how women are deliberately portrayed in the media. It might sell products or improve ratings but it’s not particularly helpful or healthy.

The National Committee on Pay Equity’s proposed plan includes:

First, we need to keep affirmative action programs in place to make sure education, jobs and promotion opportunities are open and offered to qualified women.

Second, employers must examine and correct their pay practices. Employers can get help in examining their pay practices through equal pay self-audit guidelines from the US Department of Labor.

Third, women must stand up for equal pay and for themselves. If a prospective employer cannot show that women and men are paid equally for the job you’re seeking, it makes sense to look elsewhere. Positive signs includes a hiring process that seeks diversity through affirmative action, written pay and benefit policies, job descriptions and evaluation procedures. A union for workers is another good sign. Women in unions earn 35% more than women in non-union workplaces.

Women who are paid less than men must discuss the problem with their employer. If there’s a union ask their help. If discrimination persists, file a complaint with the local or state (name of agency for your city or state if possible) fair employment agencies or with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

A fourth way to close the pay gap is through federal legislation such as the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Pay Act. That’s not a solution popular with employers, but it may be necessary. For employers who continue to pay women less, legal penalties or EEOC action may be the only remedies.

I’m glad all of these bodies involved in raising awareness about pay equity have addressed the fact that the gender wage gap is inextricably linked to a host of gender equality issues: why “women’s work” is undervalued, why women are more likely to be in minimum wage jobs, why women are more likely to be casually/temporarily employed, how women are implicitly and explicitly discriminated against in terms of accessing the highest positions in all industries.

Hopefully, a couple of days of awareness-raising will encourage our politicians to consider solutions.

Blog for Fair Pay

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