According to Census Bureau data, the rate has only slightly increased (about 1 percent) in the last few years after a huge leap of improvement in 2007. The gender wage gap is a clear representation of the inequality in the U.S, and the fact that improvement isn’t being made is more than concerning for working woman across the nation.
In 1960, a woman made 61 percent of every man’s salary; 54 years later and that percentage has only risen 17 points. This means that if a man makes $50,000 a year, a woman with the same position will only make $39,000.
Gender-race gaps also show shocking statistics: an African-American woman working full-time makes 64 cents for every dollar a white man makes; while Hispanic women make just 54 cents.
The wage difference is due to multiple factors, including the laws that clash between raising one’s children and work demands, but mostly the gap seems to be from flat-out discrimination. A woman will make less than a man at almost every job, will be paid less starting in their first year out-of-college, and is less likely to be hired.
The first step for establishing equality? First, implement legislation to help women in the workplace, paid maternity leave requirements, affordable child care, and family-friendly attitudes.
Secondly, ban salary-secrecy laws. Banning salary-secrecy would allow women to know if they’re not earning as much as male counterparts, and give them the ability to take action in the workplace.
Minnesota has made multiple steps to reaching equal pay, starting last spring with the Women’s Economic Security Act. WESA introduced several programs to make it easier for working women including childcare legislation, workplace discrimination laws, helping woman owned business’s succeed and making several steps to closing the wage gap. They worked on closing the earnings gap for women by ensuring the state contractors are in compliance with equal pay laws and by protecting employees who discuss compensation from retaliation.
Even with legislation like WESA for the last ten years, the wage gap has been at almost a complete standstill. It’s outrageous that today women still have to fight for equality.
There’s a lot more work to be done to get that 78 cents up to a dollar.