Natalie Solidarity writes at Diatribe Media:
According to the Women’s Law Center, women face unequal pay for equal work, earning on average only 77¢ for every dollar earned by men, with African American and Latina women faring even worse. Legislative bills to strengthen the laws against discrimination are still in urgent need. Furthermore, depending on industry, women earn significantly less than the 77/100 that their male counterparts for working the same jobs.
Inequality is not a new trend. A comprehensive study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that the gender wage gap can only be partially explained by human capital factors and so-called “work patterns.” The GAO study, released in 2003, was based on data from 1983 through 2000 from a representative sample of Americans between the ages of 25 and 65. The researchers controlled for work patterns, which include years of work experience, education, and hours of work per year, as well as differences in industry, occupation, race, marital status, and job tenure. With controls for these variables in place, the data showed that women earned, on average, 20% less than men during the entire period 1983 to 2000.
Even though the wage gap is explained away, let’s examine the factors in determining work patterns from a critical perspective. What does marital status have to do with how well one performs at her job? How does race determine value? There are a miniscule number of jobs solely based on possession of particular genitalia. The remainder should receive equal pay across gender lines, as we’re all humans with brains operating to complete functions of a specific goal. Furthermore, one can even inspect the structures which factor the explanations of disparity. In a subsequent GAO study in 2008, cleverly titled Women’s Earnings: Federal Agencies Should Better Monitor Their Performance in Enforcing Anti-Discrimination Laws, it was found that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Labor “should better monitor their performance in enforcing anti-discrimination laws.” When we explore this critically, we should remember how many women represent the population in governing structures. Women hold a mere 16 percent of seats in Congress currently. The U.S. Ranks 69th in respect to the percentage of women in government. Countries that have a higher percentage of women include Tajikistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uganda.
Read the full post at Diatribe Media