Equal Pay for Equal Work?
Fighting for Over 50 Years
Women in 2014 have rights far beyond the rights that women had in the 1800's, however, the balance that is supposed to be seen in the workplace between men and women is absent. In the 1800's the women's sphere of influence shaped the way a lot of women think now, but it also did great things for women in the home and women in education. It did a lot to shape the way of women in the workplace as well. Unfortunately it did not do enough in the workplace as women still struggle to earn the same as men in the workplace. A CNN Opinion article entitled, 'For women, economic justice a civil rights issue', written by Maya Harris in January of 2014, goes over the issues that women see in the workplace, ranging from unequal pay for equal work positions and education. The workplace seems to be the place where women remain unequal, and are doomed to remain that way, from the 1800's until now.
The women's sphere of influence, which occurred back in the 1800's, did a lot to shape the way the Nation is today, unfortunately women's work and pay equality was not one of them. During this era women tried to reshape their ideals so that they could live the way they wanted to, and while this worked for middle class Northern women, it did not work for Southern women or Westbound women. Either way, this time period, and the whole sphere of influence, had a great effect on the goals that women have for themselves, and for the American government in 2015. Women were seeking a say in their homes, education, enhanced female relationships and equal working opportunities. Women got a say in their homes, and in fact, became the primary house and family keepers. Women also benefitted from enhanced feminine relationships, but, are still looking for equal employment opportunities and equal pay.
While Northern women reaped the benefits of the women's sphere, Westbound women had to deal with removal from families. They also had to deal with being dragged all over the country in dangerous caravans. Westbound women took a step back during this time period, and fell back into submissive roles where men retained all of the control. Jobs were strictly male jobs and women were usually nothing more than barmaids, or brothel workers. Southern women did not have it easy either and in the South they "resisted changes that might erode patriarchal power" (Woloch, 2006, p. 143). Women remained weak and seen as lesser creatures. Now-a-days women are not seen as lesser creatures.
In 2014 women all over America have reaped the benefits of the women's sphere and feminist movements. Women have gained the right to have a voice in government, hold government positions, be in charge of house and to work. Unfortunately women are still fighting to be seen as equals to men in the workplace. Women hold jobs but make far less and hold less important positions than men most of the time. There are a select few women that are able to join the same workforce that men are in, but they do it for less pay, no matter what education they may or may not have.
A CNN Opinion article by Maya Harris goes over some of the statistics of women in the workplace, and while the article is geared towards fighting poverty, it states; "to fight poverty, start with women" (Harris, 2014). The article itself makes a bold statement about poverty, but it makes and even bolder statement about women in the workplace. It also discusses a little bit about family and paid sick leave, as well as affordable child care.
The article discusses the fact that one out of every three American families lives at or below the federal poverty limit. It also states that seventy percent of the people living at or below the federal poverty limit are women and children. The article also basically says that the reason this is, is because forty percent of American households rely on women as the primary caregiver and financer of the home. In a country where women are the heads of households, one would think that they would at least be counted as equal to men when working. Unfortunately this is not the case and women in the workplace still make far less than men do.
"Women represent nearly two-thirds of minimum wage workers, concentrated in jobs that tend to be labor-intensive. They go without paid sick days or access to affordable child care. Moreover, women across the spectrum continue to earn less than men no matter the education level, profession or position -- a wage gap that is more like a gulf for women of color who earn 55 to 65 cents on the dollar compared with white men" (Harris, 2014). In a way, women have not progressed much further in the workplace than where they were in the 1800's, especially women of color, other than the fact that they can work in different positions that do not necessarily fit women's roles that were set back in the 1800's. Women have fared better in the education department, but that also does not seem to help bridge the wage gap between women and men, though there was even an act passed which was supposed to ensure equal pay.
"The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Job content (not job titles) determines whether jobs are substantially equal" (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2014). Even though this act was passed in 1963 women still do not receive equal pay for the equal work done, because it is extremely hard for women to obtain the positions that well paid Caucasian men work in, even though they may have a degree that is just as good or better then than their male counterpart. Even statistics from the White House show that women receive less pay for equal work; "Despite passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which requires that men and women in the same work place be given equal pay for equal work, the "gender gap" in pay persists. Full-time women workers’ earnings are only about 77 percent of their male counterparts’ earnings. The pay gap is even greater for African-American and Latina women" (The White House, 2014).
Women in 2014 have rights far beyond the rights that women had in the 1800's, however, the balance that is supposed to be seen in the workplace between men and women is absent. In the 1800's the women's sphere of influence shaped the way a lot of women think now, but it also did great things for women in the home and women in education. It did a lot to shape the way of women in the workplace as well. Unfortunately it did not do enough in the workplace as women still struggle to earn the same as men. Even though the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was instituted it still did not do much to affect equal pay for equal work. Equal pay rights are a fight that women are still fighting to this day, with hopes of legislation passing sooner rather than later.
Harris, M. (2014). For women, economic justice a civil rights issue. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/20/opinion/harris-women-jobs-shriver-report/
The White House. (2014). Understand the basics. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/equal-pay
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2014). Equal pay/compensation discrimination. Retrieved from http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/equalcompensation.cfm
Woloch, N. (2006). Women and the American experience: a concise history 2006 (5th ed). New York: McGraw Hill Higher Education
Fighting for Years
© 2015 Kelly Miller