Equal Pay for Equal Work For years, women have been fighting for equality in everything that they do. If one takes a close look at the issues surrounding the differences between men’s and women’s roles in the workforce, one will notice that women tend to be one step below on the “status” or “importance” ladder. In American society, the woman has always been viewed traditionally in the role she should play in the home; that she is the “homemaker” or “caretaker”.
Even when women break from the stereotype of “housewife” and join the workforce, they still are not given an equal opportunity at acquiring a job that is seen to be as advancing or of garnering higher recognition. Women deserve the same pay for the same work performed by their equal male counterparts due to the fact that many women have become the sole providers of their families, and there nothing a man can do that a woman cannot do, their physical and mental abilities overlap, plus several other myths. Men, in the 1940s, were the head of the house; their role was to take charge of everything, and they made all of the family’s choices.
Men were supposed to build lives for their families. Married women in the ’40s were supposed to clean the home, bear children, and keep the house running efficiently. Late in 1941, these roles were disrupted; the United States entered into World War II, the men were sent away to the war, and the women had to fill the roles of the men in the workforce. Everywhere newspapers had advertisements for help wanted and jobs. Millions of American women took the responsibility to fill the newly-available positions (Rowland 71).
This created a new image for women by the middle of the 1940s, with the support of the government the women were encouraged to fill the spots of the men who had gone over seas (Rowland 75). A survey was conducted by the Department of Labor after the end of World War II to determine if women would have liked to keep their jobs. The survey found that only 20 percent wished to leave their jobs; the other 80 percent would have preferred to stay in the workforce. At the start of the 1960s, 60 percent of all of those employed in the United States were men; a 20 percent drop compared to the 40s and 50s (Rowland 79).
According to the U. S. News & World News Reports, “nearly two-thirds of all married women with children were working in the labor force by the start of the 1990s (qtd. in Rowland 158)”. Women in today’s society work just as hard as men, and have taken on the responsibility of being the sole provider. According to the Department of Labor, women were the primary caregivers in most families in 2005; also, 3. 7million Americans held multiple jobs (USDL, “Employment Status of Women and Men in 2005” 1). In 2000, 28 percent of all of the households in America had a least one child under the age of 18 in the household; 7. million of those families had children under the age of 18 with a single woman as the primary caregiver (Hopkins 1). According to the 2000 United States Census, “More than 1 in 4 families with children under the age of 18 were headed by a single parent” and “more than 3 out of 4 single parent families were headed by a Mom” (Hopkins 2). It is not just young women who are raising children under the age of 18; in 2003, there were 2. 4 million grandparents in the United States that were liable for their grandchildren and 63 percent of those grandparents were women (USDHS 1).
Although the statistics show that there are more women that are the sole providers for many of their families than there are men; it is not shown properly in workforce statistics. Women have participated in the workforce for years and make up almost half of the workforce. In 2005, 60 percent over 16 years of age participated in the workforce and 46 percent of all women were employed. Between 1995 and 2005, 17 million jobs were created and women held 49 percent of all of the new jobs formed (USDL,“Employment Status of Women and Men in 2005” 1).
There have been wage differences between men and women for decades, even if they were performing the exact same task. In 2005, women averaged $135 less per week then men, which equates to men averaging $1. 85 more per hour than their equal female counterparts (USDL, “Employment Status of Women and Men in 2005” 2). In 2008, women averaged $160 less per week than men, which is $8,320 less annually (USDL, “Women’s-to-Men’s Earning Ration, 1979-2008” 1). A study conducted by PRWeek showed that, “in 2000, men working on salary wage made 28 percent more than women doing the same job” (qtd. in Wrigley 28).
Women working in public relations jobs are making $23,000 less annually than the equal male counterparts (Wrigley 28). For years women have been fighting for equality and for the same pay for the same work as men; there are many arguments as to why people feel women are not as equal as men in the workplace. Some feel women choose to make less than men, that there is nothing wrong with a woman making less money than a man who is performing the same task. Many believe attendance affects pay while others believe women tend to take professions that do not risk their lives and that are less physically demanding (Fisanick, Feminism 131).
There are many women out there who despite the gender differences are risking their lives with jobs that are just as physically demanding as jobs that men are doing, despite their physical size. A woman’s skeleton may be 10 to 15 percent smaller than a man’s skeleton; studies have shown that there is truly little difference. The mental and physical abilities overlap between the two genders (Rowland 13). When the two genders were compared results showed that though a female’s skeleton may be smaller the two genders have the same mental and physical abilities (Rowland 72).
Feminists believe that the only reason women only earn 76 cents to every man’s dollar is due to gender discrimination (Fisanick, Feminism 131). There have been several legislative attempts to end this gender discrimination against women. In 1972, an Equal Employment Opportunity Act was passed. The act pushed to end discrimination against potential employees based on several aspects such as race and gender; this piece of legislation was designed to create equality and level the playing field between genders and races.
The term equal is different for each piece of legislation in this bill however; equal means all must be looked at as equals, who should receive equal treatment. (Peters 1). Although this bill was passed, small businesses and large corporations are overlooking this act. Some employers believe certain positions should only be filled by a specific gender; therefore, “weeding out” potential employees that do not fit the job qualifications based on gender. Even earlier than 1972, a bill was passed prohibiting discrimination when terminating, employing, and promoting based on ethnicity and gender.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, after much debate, made it a crime to not employee or fire a person based on their gender or race. With this act the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created. The EEOC was created to enforce such laws that ban any type of discrimination against a person when dealing with employment (USNARA 1). Annually 48,000 claims are looked over by the EEOC (USNARA 2), and of all these claims that made a vast majority of them end up court for gender or race discrimination (USNARA 2).
In 1963, The Equal Pay Act was an even earlier attempt to end the employment difference between a man and a woman, stating that women and men cannot have different pays for a particular job that demands skills, dedication and motivation (Schlam 1). There have been several studies to prove and show that there are truly no difference between men and women. A study conducted by Cornell University showed that in a four-year period three percent more men received promotions than woman. Even after controlling for other variables, like education, seniority and skills; there was still a 2. percent gap (Fisanick, Working Women 70). Even though there are fewer men enrolled in universities than there are women, the number of women who hold high ranking jobs does not even compare to the number of men who hold high ranking positions (Fisanick, Working Women 75). A study done by Business Weekly “showed that even those women who make it to the top are still paid 32 cents less per hour than their equal male counterparts” (qtd. in Wrigley 28). Even after all of the attempts to end gender discrimination and the studies that have shown there is no real difference, women of today are still fighting the battle.
The trend of women as just a “housewife” has slowly changed over time and they are beginning to realize that they do not have to be held to those stereotypical roles. Numerous acts and wills have been passed, Equal Opportunity enforcement groups have been created, and still there are many women who are still being discriminated. Women have worked hard for years striving for equality in everything that they do; a woman deserves the same pay as a man completing the same task. Women have been stepping out of the position as “homemaker” and “caretaker” for years now; they make up 46 percent of the work force and work just as hard as men.
Though a woman’s skeleton maybe smaller than a man’s, it has been proven the physical and mental abilities overlap. So many women today are the head of their households, the primary caregivers and if they do not receive the equal pay that they deserve eventually these women will not be able to provide for their families; they do the same tasks as men and are yet have different pays based on gender. Works Cited Fisanick, Christina, ed. Feminism. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2008. – – -. Working Women. Detroit: Green haven Press, 2008. Hopkins, Fran. Single-Parent-Family Stats from the 2000 U. S. Census. ” Families. com. Feb 2006. 26 Sept. 2010. <http://single-parenting. families. com/blog/single-parent-family-stats-from-the-2000-us-census>. Peters, Lawrence. “Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972. ” Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd ed. 1999. Rowland, Debran. The Boundaries of her Body: The Troubling History of Women’s Rights in America. Naperville: Sourcebook, Inc. , 2004. Schlam, Lawrence. “ Major Acts of Congress, Equal Pay Act of 1963”. Enotes. 2009. 26 Sept. 2010. <http://www. enotes. om/major-acts-congress/equal-pay-act/print>. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. “Women’s Health USA 2005”. Rockville: U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005. United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. [USDL]. “Employment Status of Women and Men in 2005. ” Monthly Labor Review. Nov 2005. 27 Sept. 2010. <http://www. dol. gov/wb/factsheet/gf-eswm05. htm> – – -. “Women’s-to-Men’s Earnings Ratio, 1979-2008. ” The Editor’s Desk. Nov 2005. 26 Sept. 2010. <http://www. bls. ov /opub/ted/2009/jul/wk4/art05. htm>. United States National Archives and Records Administration. [USNARA]. “ The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission”. Teaching With Documents. 2009. 27 Sept. 2010. < http://www. archives. gov/education/lessons/civil-rights-act/>. Wrigley, Brenda J. “Glass Ceiling? What Glass Ceiling? A Qualitative Study of How Women View the Glass Ceiling in Public Relations and Communications Management. ” Journal of Public Relations Research 14. 1 (2002): 27-55. Business Source Premier. EBSCO. Web. 26 Sept. 2010