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This week (June 10) marks the 49th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy. The purpose of the law was to abolish wage disparity based on sex, and yet here we are almost 50 years later and women still earn less than men.
According to a White House Report, women earn just 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. And, of course, the gap is even larger for African American women who earn only 64 cents on the dollar and Latino women who earn 56 cents on the dollar.
A 2012 analysis of occupation and wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that men out-earned women in 19 of the 20 most common occupations for women, last year, and in 19 of the 29 most common occupations for men. A 2007 study by the American Association of University Women found a 12 percent difference in the earnings of male and female college graduates 10 years after graduation. Furthermore, the older a woman gets the wore things get. According to one report, in the last five years before retirement, the annual wage gap jumped to more than $14,000. By age 65 the average woman will have lost more than $430,000.00
This just isn’t fair. A woman should receive the same amount of pay for work as a man if she is doing the same amount of work.
“This is more than just about fairness. Women are the breadwinners for a lot of families and if they are making less than men do for the same work families are going to have to get back with less money for childcare, tuition and rent. Small businesses have fewer customers, everybody suffers,” said President Barack Obama, who today (June 5) sent the Paycheck Fairness Act to the Senate.
The Paycheck Fairness Act legislation would have ensured that employers who pay a man more than a woman for performing the same job must show that the disparity is not based on gender and instead show that any pay differences are legitimately job related and a business necessity. It also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees, who discuss salary information with their co-workers, and it would strengthen the available remedy to include compensatory damages and under certain limited circumstances punitive damages, bringing equal pay laws into line with other non-discrimination laws.
Unfortunately, the Paycheck Fairness Act has stalled in the Senate because of bi-partisan bull. A total of 60 votes were needed for passage; however the legislation failed to pass the Senate by a vote of 52-47. It’s obvious that the male dominated Senate believes all women should remain “pregnant and barefooted in the kitchen.” This is a slap in the face of every woman in America, even the wives of these same overpaid politicians, who are living high on the female, as well as male, taxpayer’s money.
Now, I don’t know how you feel about President Obama, but every red-blooded American female should be standing behind him on this one; whether you are a Tea-partyer, Democrat, Republican, Conservative-whatever.
Now many naysayers are going to say this is an election year political ploy, especially in light of the dismal jobs report that were just released. So what if it is? It is still unfair that in the year 2012, the 21st Century, women still earn less than men for doing the same work.
In 2010 there were more than 23 million working mothers. So when women earn less it means less for their families’ day-to-day needs such as childcare, groceries and the mortgage. And for African American women it is doubly devastating, especially when you take into consideration that 29 percent of African American households are headed by women (1 in every 3 households) compared to 7.8, 9.0, and 10.5 percent, respectively for non-Hispanic Asian, non-Hispanic White, and non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander women. Additionally, African American men reportedly make up 40.2 percent of the prison population leaving African American women to carry the load of taking care of the household.
The women of America (Black, white, Hispanic, Jewish, Gentile, Christian, etc) should rise up and really make their voices heard in this upcoming election. We should vote out any politician who opposed this legislation—be they Democrat or Republican.
Women of America, remember the hand that rocks the cradle “rules” the world.