Equal pay for all Americans—men and women– is a little closer to reality as efforts to achieve gender parity by 2020, the mission of Take The Lead, seems within reach.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed two executive orders as a result of PowHerNY’s Equal Pay Campaign and Call to Action signed by 120 organizations.
“The first order from Cuomo bans the use of salary history in hiring practices for state employees, and the second requires New York state contractors to report equal pay data,” according to Beverly Cooper Neufeld, president of PowHer NY.NY Gov Cuomo signed 2 exec orders as result of PowHerNY’s Equal Pay Campaign & Call to Action Click To Tweet
The impact on millions of women New Yorkers is enormous.
The first order states, “As companies tend to base salary offers on a candidate’s prior salary history, this measure will break the cycle of unfair compensation so that individuals, primarily women and minorities, are not disadvantaged throughout the course of their entire career.”
The second executive order requires “all state contractors to disclose data on the gender, race, ethnicity, job title, and salary of all its employees in all state contracts, agreements, and procurements issued and executed on or after June 1, 2017. This will leverage taxpayer dollars to drive transparency and progress toward wage equity.”
The wish would be other states would follow New York, and California as it did in 2016.
In Mississippi, “Rep. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, has authored a bill that would ensure women receive pay equal to men,” according to an editorial in The Jackson Clarion-Ledger. The Evelyn Gandy Fair Pay Act is up for a vote in Mississippi.
“A 2016 report from the Washington, D.C.-based National Partnership for Women and Families found the median annual pay for a woman in Mississippi who holds a full-time, year-round job is $31,465 while the median annual pay for a man in the same circumstances is $40,850 — a $9,385 annual wage gap between genders,” the Clarion reports.
“And U.S. Census figures show women working full time in Mississippi make 77 percent of the median for men’s earning. The figure drops even lower for black and Hispanic women.’ according to the editorial.
“Equal pay has come to be known as a Democratic or liberal issue. It shouldn’t be. Equal pay shouldn’t even be an issue. Equal pay should be a reality,” argues the editorial board of The Sun Herald.
Pay equity is also an issue in Hollywood, with recent headlines about Emmy Rossum’s refusal to sign her contract for “Shameless,” unless she was paid the same as her male co-star. And we think asking for equal pay is shameless.
According to Jezebel, “Rossum’s holdout for higher pay than her co-star William H. Macy kept Season 8 on hold, though a deal was eventually struck that places her salary on par. During a TCA panel on Monday, Showtime president David Nevins clarified: ‘To be clear, parity was justified in this case. We were advocating for that from the beginning. It is great for her and great for us. Emmy has been a force on that show. Not just in front, but behind the cameras. She’ll continue to direct.’”
Pay equity, or equal salaries for women and men is not only fair and ethical, but it makes good, economic sense.Pay equity for men & women is not only fair & ethical, but it makes economic sense #equality Click To Tweet
“As Congress and the new President search for a real fiscal stimulus with long-term payoffs, they should look no further than fighting for equal pay for women and investing in paid family leave and quality, affordable child care,” write Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., is an economist and president of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, in TIME.
“American families stand to benefit substantially from closing the pay gap. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research has calculated that if working women were paid the same as comparable men—men who were of the same age, had the same level of education, worked the same number of hours and lived in similar geographic areas—women’s average annual earnings would have been $482 billion higher in 2014. Closing the pay gap would yield an average benefit of $6,551 per working woman—real money that could have helped families make ends meet and jumpstarted the economy,” write Maloney and Hartmann.
In California, additional equal pay protections went into effect at the start of 2017.
“The first big change in California equal pay law that goes into effect is that the principles of the Fair Pay Act will be expanded to compensation differences between members of one race or ethnicity and those of another. Supporters of the new measure argued that women of color who are paid less than white women should also be able to make a claim under the law,” according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Municipalities in this country are also waging a war on wage. In Tempe, Arizona, a move is for local businesses to sign onto the campaign for pay equity.
“’We want to highlight those businesses of all sizes that are already committed to equal pay and help those that want to reach this distinction,’ said Rosa Inchausti, director of the Office of Strategic Management and Diversity,” according to Wrangler News.
“Tempe is interested in creating a business-friendly process that helps our community meet the expectation of equal pay based on gender,” Inchausti told the news site.
While it is clear that in some parts of the country, women are paid more fairly than in other parts, the gender gap also varies along career paths. The energy industry is one not close to pay equity.
“Research from PayScale’s report, Inside the Gender Pay Gap, shows that no matter how you cut it, women earn less than men in the energy industry. Even when you account for compensable factors like experience, education, and job level, women still are paid around $5,000 less on average than their male counterparts. If you’re a visual person like me, sometimes it helps to compare it this way,” according to PayScale.
Still, even with legislation percolating across the country, pay equity for men and women is complicated, some argue.
“Equal pay for women has been federal law since President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963. This law prohibits paying wages to employees at a lower rate than people of the opposite sex receive for equal work. Equal work is defined as work which is performed under similar working conditions, requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility. Exceptions are made for seniority, merit and quantity or quality of work,” writes Julie Tappero, CEO of Westsound Workforce, in Kitsap Sun.
But even though most believe fair is fair, equal pay is complicated by performance, merit and even bias.
Tappero writes, “As business owners and managers, we also have a role to play. We should periodically conduct a pay audit to be sure we are in compliance with the Equal Pay Act, either on our own or with the assistance of an HR consultant or employment law attorney. We need to be sure that we truly do have pay equity in jobs that are equal in skill, effort, responsibility and physical conditions. Over time, the bias of individual supervisors can come into play and affect impartiality. Conducting a pay audit could reveal where that has happened and rectify any disparity that exists.”
Lydia Dishman writes in Fast Company: “Here’s what we know: Our workplaces have a long way to go to achieve gender parity in everything from leadership positions to pay, despite the fact that women and men are nearly equally represented in the workforce. “
Dishman quotes Moritz Kothe, CEO of Kununu, who says, “While the conversation around gender equality is louder today than ever before, we clearly still have a long way to go in order for true gender equality to exist, women need to feel like they are on equal footing, and our findings indicate that we’re not there yet.”