Monday, March 22, 2010

Think the Need For Equal Pay is Over? Think Again.

An article published this weekend in Newsweek highlights the struggles women have faced, and continue to face, in finding equity in workplace earnings.  A new report from IWPR shows that in 2008, the ratio of women's full-time median annual earnings compared to men's was 77.1 - in other words, women earned 77.1% of what men did over the year.

While pregnancy and child-rearing has long been blamed for the difference in earnings between men and women, the fact remains that just one year out of college, women are earning only 80 percent of the wages of male colleagues - even after earning higher GPAs in college.  Here are some other facts you might find interesting:
  • Even 10 years out of college, full-time working women who have not had children earn 77 percent of what men are earning.
  • 43 percent of all women work in one of four occupations: secretary, registered nurse, teacher, and cashier, also known as "pink-collar" jobs.  Overall, more than half of all women work in sales, clerical, or service jobs, which usually offer low wages and few benefits.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while women are more likely then men to work in professional and related occupations, they are less likely then men to work in the higher-paying positions in those fields.
  •  Over their lifetime, women lose between $400,000 and $2 million in earnings.  This loss affects not only women, but also their families.
As Equal Pay Day approaches next month, let's work together to mark the day in our homes, businesses, and government.  Take a moment to talk to your legislators about the Paycheck Fairness Act - and take a moment to talk to the people in your life about the need for gender equity at work.

image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/squeakymarmot/ / CC BY 2.0

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