In a dissent written by Justice Ginsberg, it was noted that when Lilly was hired by Goodyear, her pay was ‘comparable’ to her male counterparts but in the nearly 20 years that she worked there, the salaries for the men rose at a much higher rate than her salary and when she left, she was making $3,737/month vs the male salaries ranging from $4,286/month to $5,236/month. As his first action as President, on January 29, 2009, the President signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Equity Act of 2009 into law….please don’t ever forget her name or ever forget this Act….
On Friday of last week, January 29, 2016, the 7th anniversary of the signing of the Act, President Obama announced ‘several’ actions the White House will undertake to support pay equality in honor of this anniversary. The EEOC, along with the Department of Labor is ‘publishing a proposal’ to collect summary pay data by gender, race and ethnicity from businesses with 100 or more employees annually – potentially affecting as many as 63 million employees and a large chunk of American employers.
This Act extended the time period in which claimants can bring pay discrimination claims, enabling victims of pay discrimination to seek redress when they otherwise could not. In spite of this legislation and other actions taken by the Obama Administration to support working women, a gap persists in wages earned by men and women. In 2014, median earnings for a woman working full-time all year in the US totaled only 29% of the median earnings of a man working full-time all year. Yes, that means that ‘she’ earned 79 cents for every dollar ‘he’ earned.
Lilly Ledbetter lost her suit, however, by expanding the time period for filing pay discrimination claims, this Act changed the legal process around claims of gender discrimination, one of the many factors contributing to the pay gap.
An interesting caveat is that when compared to men of color, the women of color make a higher percentage….go figure….but, men of color make less than white men anyhow, don’t they?
There is an ongoing connection between gender equity pay and pay transparency…if more companies were open about the pay that each individual received, there would not be a concern for who is making what…it use to be that men were paid more because of the jobs that they held and it was also felt that they needed the money more….Does anyone remember the movie with Charlize Theron, North Country? The main character was hired in a factory that already had other women employees in the same positions….what they didn’t have was an employee like ‘Charlize’, who was not going to put up with the harassment, heckling and abuse that her co-workers lived with nor was she going to permit the establishment to get away with the indecencies and atrocities (yes, atrocities) that persisted. North Country is the story (a bit aided, but relatively accurate) of the first Class Action Sexual Harassment Claim in the United States….and I’m fully aware that sexual harassment is of a different ilk than gender pay equity but it comes from the same twisted mentality….
Another issue that women deal with is starting salary offers….if given the same exact resume with different names on them (one male/one female), the male would be offered a higher starting salary if it was decided that the resume met the qualifications for the position….there is some research being done to show that banks/investment companies distribute ‘profits’ differently between the men/women….the role discrimination plays in the pay gap could conceivably rise if non-competitive profits continue to rise.
On Friday, January 29, 2016, the President highlighted several additional actions that his administration is taking to advance equal pay for all workers and further empower working families…along with the EEOC and DOL partnership publishing a proposal, the following are proposed initiatives:
***The President is renewing his call to Congress to take up and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, commonsense legislation that would give women additional tools to fight pay discrimination:
***The Council of Economic Advisors is releasing an ‘ISSUE BRIEF’, the “Gender Pay Gap on the Anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act,” that explores the state of the gender wage gap, the factors that influence it and policies put forward by this Administration that can help address it:
***The White House will host a summit on “The Untied State of Women’ on May 23rd that will create an opportunity to mark the progress made on behalf of women and girls domestically and internationally over the course of this Administration and to discuss solutions to the challenges they still face:
It is the hope that these actions will build on the steps President Obama has taken since day one to create more equality in the workplace. In April 2014, to celebrate Equal Pay Day, President Obama signed two executive actions to recognize the full equality of women and increase equity for all in the workplace.
So, we are still 79 cents on the dollar….21 cents added up over time is a good deal of money. If anyone is interested in insuring that they are getting paid the equivalent of your male counterparts or if you want to insure that the woman working in the cubicle next to you is making comparable to what you are making, please contact me, Rosanne Bennett, and we can explore these ‘truths’ together. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 484-947-7063.