Paycheck fairness must become a priority for women in the US
At a time when the US, along with the rest of the world is making giant strides in various fields of science, technology, and development, the issue of paycheck fairness for female workers within the United States remains a serious human rights and gender issue. Considering that nearly half of the US workforce consists of female employees who hold various rankings, it is natural to assume that their wages would be on par with that of their male colleagues. However, this is not so, and women on average, stand to earn only 77 cents per dollar as compared with men. For female employees belonging to the Latino, African-American and immigrant communities, the situation is even worse, and it is time therefore, to address the pay-equity issue and to make it a high priority.
Among the many forms of legislation, which have been passed in order to promote equal pay for women, is the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. Named in honor of Lilly Ledbetter, an employee of a well known multinational who took on her employees in court after learning of paycheck inequality, the Act aims to “loosen the timeliness requirements” in context with filing a discrimination lawsuit against an employee or company. This bill was passed and signed with full support from President Obama. He also signed an executive order on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, in order to push for equal pay for all genders. However, as with some other kinds of legislation, a few amendments are suggested which will ensure that ethnic minorities and their right to equal pay is considered.
In context with the general attitude pertaining to paycheck equality however, it is up to both employees as well as the companies which employ them, to take an active stance in context with promoting women in the workforce by assuring them of equal rights and privileges. It is important to acknowledge the value of a female employee and of the fact that she brings as much, if not additional value to a company and should therefore be duly and rightfully compensated for her efforts and professional contribution. It appears that gender inequality is still taken for granted even in high powered companies where women in top level positions complain of being paid less than male counterparts despite putting in as much time and effort as them into their work. It is suggested that an attitude change be facilitated through women’s rights based advocacy where female employees are made to understand their rights in the workplace so that they are empowered enough to take a stand and demand equal pay.
In context with their employees as well, the same style of advocacy is recommended in order to sensitize them regarding the fact that they are unintentionally contributing towards gender inequality and discrimination by relegating their female employees. Through this advocacy and also through legislation that is supportive of equal rights and gender inequality, it is hoped that paycheck fairness for all women will become a reality in due course.