Comparable Worth

Topics: Equal pay for women, Encyclopædia Britannica, Gender Pages: 2 (611 words) Published: October 5, 2008
Matthew Hutson
Professor Miclot
Phase 3 Individual Project
The principle of comparable worth also known as sex equality and pay equality, is easily defined as “the principle that men and women should be compensated equally for work requiring comparable skills, responsibilities, and effort.” ( Comparable worth has been an issue of debate since it was introduced in the 1970s by people looking to counter act the inequities of pay for occupations typically held by men and women. After congress passed the equal pay act in 1963 employers were required to provide “equal pay for equal work” regardless of gender, still compensation for occupations dominated by women continued to be far less than that of male dominated occupations. Some say that the principle of comparable worth clashes with the operation of the free market and that the worth of an occupation is undefinable and cannot be compared.

There have been many lawsuits brought on the issue of comparable worth which has pushed it to political prominence. In 1981 “the state of Washington was ordered to provide raises and compensatory back pay to female state employees, who were found to be earning 20 percent less than their male coworkers.” ( Although the case of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees V. State of Washington was over turned in a court of appeals, the state conceded to make women's pay equal to that of there male counterparts. Laws pertaining to pay equity have been enacted in Europe, Canada, Australia, and in a number of state and municipalities in the United States.

A major catalyst of the comparable worth revolution was the simple fact that women were only making approximately 60 cents for every dollar that the men were making, which was a gap that had not changed much in decades. pay equity advocacy groups and individuals presumed that the earnings difference to the sexual segregation of the workforce. Because of this...
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