Equal Pay

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Mike K.

Essay on equal pay in the work place.

In 1963, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, making it unlawful to discriminate against a worker on the basis of sex. Since that time, the wage gap between men and women in the United States has narrowed by just 15 cents, now being 74 cents, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Pay equality is most prevalent for the 16 to 24 age group, in which women earn more than 90 percent of what men do; however, the gap becomes 75 percent in the 25 to 54 year old group – those at the height of their careers and life responsibilities.

A number of factors have contributed to the gap between men's and women's wages. These include: occupational segregation of women into low paying jobs; lower levels of unionization for women and attitudinal barriers that have kept women from achieving equality in the workplace and undervaluation for women's work.

The Equal Pay Act (part of the Fair Labor Standards Act), forbids employers to compensate women differently for jobs that are "substantially equal", that is, almost identical. Traditionally, women have worked in different occupations than men; these occupations tend to be substantially different, pay less and confer less authority.

Equity means fairness and justice. Pay equity programs throughout the world attempt to legislate and regulate the elimination of systemic gender-based wage discrimination and to ensure ongoing systems that will maintain equitable wage relationships over time.

Pay equity programs attempt to address the undervaluation for work traditionally or historically done by women. Pay equity (also referred to as "comparable worth") programs require a gender-neutral analysis of comparative work. A variety of very different jobs are compared based on a composite of the skill, effort and responsibility of a job and the conditions under which the job is generally done. The comparison determines the relative worth of...
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