What chaps me about this is how some folks nit-pick this human rights issue. They prefer wrangling over the degree of disparity rather than helping find ways to remedy this systemic, institutional injustice.
Because women earn less, they must work longer for the same amount of pay as men. That’s what Equal Pay Day is about. This year it was April 14. It was started by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 with the goal of raising awareness of the gap between men's and women's wages.
NCPE selected Tuesday to represent how far into the work week women must work to earn what men did the previous week.
According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), among full-time, year-round workers, women were paid 78 percent of what men were paid in 2013. That is, for every dollar a man earned, a woman’s wage was on average 22 cents less.
The percentage is even worse among women of color.
Race is but one dimension of this problem. The pay gap between women and men living in the United States can be significant, depending on other variables as well. Among them age, education and geography. The pay gap also exists among (surprise) women without children.
to AAUW’s “Graduating to a Pay Gap” report, among full-time workers one year
after college graduation (nearly all of whom were childless) women were paid
just 82 percent of what their male counterparts were paid.
Another inconvenient truth: women face this gender pay gap regardless of profession. Be it female-dominated, gender-balanced, or male-dominated occupations. From elementary and middle school educators to computer programmers, women on average are paid less than men.
Some pay gap debunkers cling to a 2009 report by the U.S. Department of Labor that concluded in part that the wage gap may be almost entirely the result of “individual choices being made by both male and female workers.” Translation: women choose professions that pay lower wages. Rubbish.
report fails to take into account the historic and catastrophic social dynamics
that until the 1970s legally, culturally and socially curtailed women from entry
into certain male-dominated jobs. What’s worse is the marginalization, harassment
and isolation forced on them. It happens to this day in some vocations. Video
game programming comes to mind. So does church pastoring.
|NFL ref Sarah Thomas|
Detractors also claim the unequal pay for equal work assertion is statistically flawed – that it does not account for differences in occupations, positions, education, job tenure, or hours worked per week. They say when all these factors are taken into consideration, the average wage gap narrows. Fair enough; it’s changing.
But a disparity remains.
Starting this fall, Sarah Thomas will be wearing a ball cap bearing a National Football League (NFL) logo. This month the league hired her as one of nine new referees for the upcoming season. This makes Thomas the first full-time female official in its 95-year history.
|Unequal pay? 15-yard penalty and loss of down|
There’s a reason it took so long for a woman to score an NFL striped shirt. It has little to do with game knowledge or the physical conditioning required to scamper up and down the field. Instead it involved antiquated notions about gender roles and men’s power and privilege to exclude.
Somebody throw a social justice flag: inhuman procedure.
Follow J.R. on Twitter @4humansbeing or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.