Wage discrimination has lasted and been ignored for decades. Not anymore, with women in a position of power speaking up against it.
Everybody knows April Fool's Day but for women, the day after, April 2nd, is one of the most important days in the fight for equality - Equal Pay Day. For centuries, there has been a wage discrimination for men and women where the latter was consistently paid less. And for doing the same job as the men. You've probably noticed it too.
You've probably experienced it too and found that your male colleague doing the same work as you was actually receiving a higher salary than you. It's not fair and there are more and more women coming out to talk about it. It's time to change the way women are seen in the workforce.
During World War II, when there was an influx of women working as nurses in the army, efforts were made to scrap the centuries-old tradition of the wage gap. In fact, in 1942, the National War Labor Board made sure to set policies that gave women the same pay as the men they were directly replacing.
Then in 1945, History.com stated that more of an effort was made where the US Congress brought in the Women's Equal Pay Act which would have made it illegal to give lesser pay to women for work of “comparable quality and quantity.” Unsurprisingly, the act wasn't approved and little to no progress was made on this front after that.
However, in 1963, the Equal Pay Act was enforced. Additionally so was the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009. But the wage gap remained stubborn and those who spoke up were pushed aside. Even today, women make just 82 cents for every dollar that men do, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And it is worse for women of color. Black women made just 68 cents for every dollar white men did in 2017 while Latina women made 62 cents on the dollar.
Now though in the 21st century, things are changing and they are the marks of a revolution coming to town.
While every woman has to face this challenge, unfortunately, many of their voices remain unheard. You could scream yourself hoarse, but in a world where men have dominated the workforce and in general, society, it's hard to break through this barrier. That's why it's a relief that women in positions of power are forcing people to hear them.
She is the woman who at her Oscar Awards acceptance speech, pushed this wage inequality permanently into the media spotlight. And this is what she had to say:
After her, more and more women have come out to share their support for the dismissal of wage inequality.
“Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar. In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar.”
"Once we start shifting how we perceive women and stop thinking about them as 'less than,' the pay disparity will take care of itself. There’s a much bigger issue at hand."
“I’m proud to support equal pay because women and families deserve their 20% today and every day. And PS. If we closed the gender pay gap? The U.S. economy would add $513 BILLION in new income each year. #20PercentCounts.”
“I was raised to never talk about money, so I never ask for more. I am terrified to be deemed ‘difficult,’ and I don’t think I’m the only woman with that fear. I may not be able to single-handedly fix the pay gap, but I can open my stepdaughter’s eyes to it. I can encourage her to negotiate, ask questions, and stand up for herself. I can remind myself to try that too.”
“I’m glad I did that [Transformers 3] film and I’m proud that I finally got paid what I was told I was worth by the industry. But that is nothing. That is a tenth of what most males my age, with my experience and my reputation as a film actor, make. We’ve never been paid commensurately and that has to change.”
And it's not just actresses speaking up. Presidential candidates for 2020 are finally pushing forward the idea that this issue cannot be ignored any longer.
“Today, 8 out 10 moms are working. This is going to overwhelmingly affect the majority of American families. We should have equal pay for equal work. If we did, we would raise the U.S. GDP by up to 4%. There is no greater economic engine than just allowing women to earn what they should for the work that they’re doing."
“This report clearly shows that lower wages impact women not just during their working years, but straight through retirement. Passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and other policies to help close the pay gap is important for women and their families, but they’re also critical to ensuring the strength of our entire economy.”
We've made it this far. We aren't anywhere close to giving up. You deserve this right.