Women in the United States are at a disadvantage: the wage gap. Women are unable to get equal pay for equal work. Now sadly, many don’t believe that the wage gap exists. Studies shows the wage gap starts right after college. So female college students, now not only do you have to worry about a finding a job (in a terrible economy) but unfortunately you wont make as much as men with the same education and experience who are in the same position as you. Personally, as a woman who will have to face this it makes me upset that even if I’m as qualified as a man, I can’t make as much as him just because I have lady parts. This wage gap is also really detrimental for families where the women is the bread winner and makes the majority (if not all) the income for the household. The Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963. While it did help with some of the pay gap it still is a problem. Earlier this year, the Paycheck Fairness Act was proposed and then killed in both the House and the Senate, being blocked by the GOP and those who don’t believe the wage gap exists; this is the second time the bill wasn’t passed (it was proposed in 2009 as well). This bill would have updated the 50 year old Equal Pay Act, getting rid of red tape and loopholes, help track unfair payment practices, increase penalties for payment violations and much more.
There are a couple of reasons why I find this issue of importance. First, I attend a school where there is disproportionately more females than males and I would hope that they are aware of this sort of issues that they will be facing in the next couple years and hopefully we can start doing something about it like start writing letters to our congressional representatives telling them we want this passed to better our future and to help those who are already at a disadvantage (which would probably be helpful since I go to school in a pretty conservative state). Second, this is an issue that affects more than just women. It affects the children of single mothers or homes where the mother is the primary source of income for whatever reason. It affects husbands or significant others who may have to find higher paying jobs that may not be as preferable in order to make up for loss income. It is a family issue. It also is an issue of fairness and equal opportunity. I today is an especially important day to talk about it since it is Equal Pay Day- a day used to raise awareness for this issue. Women are paid on average o77 cents for every dollar a man equally qualified make. By the time a woman is 65, she will have lost $431,000 due to the wage gap. The numbers are worse for women of color: black women make 69 cents for every dollar a man equally qualified makes and latina women make 59 cents for every dollar a man equally qualified makes. Do what you can– call your representatives and help make change on this issue.