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Equal Pay Day: Gender Wage Gap

Given that Equal Pay Day is next week, I feel it is appropriate to discuss this pressing issue. Equal Pay Day is a public awareness event made to disclose the gap between the wages of men and women in the workplace. There are clear differences between men and women and with differences comes inequality. More men than women have a greater chance of being promoted or given specific opportunities in the workplace. I first learned about the gender wage gap in my Introductory to Sociology course. It was surprising to learn the actual difference in earned income between men and women. Women earn seventy-seven cents to every man’s dollar. It was unsettling to learn that this was still going on. After researching this topic, I came across an article on Forbes.com that seemed unsettling to me. In this article, it mentions the latest numbers provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the BLS, in 2012 full-time employed women earned just 80.9% of the salaries their male counterparts did, down more than a full percentage point from 2011 when the number was over 82%. I was shocked to learn this piece of information. Instead of progressing towards wage equality, there has been a regression and the wage gap has been widened; reflecting the wage gap from 2005. Fortunately, this startling data release brought attention to the White House. At his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama announced that he would stress the urgency for Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Once again, this Act was rejected by Congress. The Paycheck Fairness Act was introduced to Congress twice and has now been rejected twice. I still do not understand the reason as to why Congress does not find this burden to be of great importance. This seems unjustified to me, we talk about progressive changes and advancements in Woman’s Rights in the U.S. yet fail to give woman equal employment opportunities and wages. The President of the United States is advocating this need for equality in the workplace but his urgency on the matter does not seem enough to persuade Congress. It is mind-boggling to think that even in the year 2013; gender discrimination in the workplace is still an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed and resolved.


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