Gender Pay Gap Persists: Women Earn 84 Cents for Every Dollar Men Make

In 2024, the gender pay gap is still a significant problem in the United States. This issue has far-reaching impacts across all genders and income levels.

19th Century Feminists Start the Fight for Equal Pay

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In the mid-nineteenth century, the first cries for equal pay rang out as early feminists fought for equality across the country.

Nearly two hundred years later, women still earn an average of 84% as their male counterparts for doing the same job.

Gender Pay Gap Remains a Hurdle

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Despite some advancements in gender equality over the years, the wage gap has not closed. It’s actually a long way from being resolved. 

Attempts for Change

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Throughout the last century, attempts have been made on a congressional level to prohibit practices that contribute to wage inequality, and although some bills have passed, none of them have succeeded in eliminating the gap.

Bills that Succeeded

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Most recently, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was passed in 2009 by then-president Barack Obama, a response to the Supreme Court case Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.

In that case, the plaintiff took legal action against Goodyear Tire.

Ledbetter’s Short-Lived Victory

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Lilly Ledbetter’s lawsuit against her employer took on a life of its own after she initially won against the tire giant. She was awarded nearly $4 million. 

A Successful Appeal

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Unfortunately for her, Goodyear appealed on the grounds that she missed the deadline to sue them (a law required a suit to be brought within 6 months of the earliest discriminatory action).

Goodyear won their appeal and after it went to the Supreme Court, Ledbetter lost there too. 

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

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That wasn’t the end of Ledbetter’s story, however. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was passed, named for her, to extend the time limits for filing discrimination suits.

This protected future women from the same outcome that Ledbetter suffered.

Legislation Stalled

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Other bills have been introduced but failed to pass both the House and the Senate, leaving women in the United States vulnerable to mostly legal acts of pay-related discrimination by their employers.

Women of Color Make Even Less

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Experts say that women of color are far more likely to be passed over for a job than white women, and when they’re hired, they receive lower salary offers.

For every dollar a white man made in 2021, Black women made 67 cents and Hispanic women, just 57 cents. 

Women’s Labor is Valued Less than Mens’, says DOL

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The Department of Labor makes no secret of the fact that women are generally paid less because their labor is not valued as highly as that of men. But how does industry impact this fact?

Women Paid Less When Men Hold Most Positions

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Many industries are still male-dominated – the financial sector, construction and similar trades, and law enforcement, to name a few.

These industries also have the largest gap in pay between men and women, even when they’re equally qualified and doing the same job.

Pay Gap Shrinks in Women-Led Industries

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Conversely, the pay gap is smaller in industries that tend to employ more women. Education, social work, and many service jobs are more likely to pay women closer to the same amount as their male counterparts.

Advice from the AAUW

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As for a solution, organizations across the country have been lobbying for change for decades.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advises women to follow three tips when advocating for fair pay in the workplace.

Understand the Market and What Your Labor is Worth

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Going in prepared, with data to back up your salary range request, will benefit you as you present your employer with a salary proposal. 

Salary Should Not Be a Secret

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Whether you’re considering taking a new job or pushing for an increase at an existing one, you need to be aware of what other people in your job are being paid.

It’s especially important to know what men with the same qualifications doing the same job are paid.

Ask the Right Questions

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There’s nothing wrong with asking your employer (or potential employer) what the salary range for the position is. In some states, that information is legally required to be in the job posting.

Gather all the Facts

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Knowing the range for the position will help prevent undervaluing your own work because you’ll get a feel for what they expect to pay. Compare this with your research to make sure it’s on par with market rates.

Don’t Hang Your Hat on Salary Alone

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If the position comes with significant benefits, like employer-paid health insurance or a high 401k match, it might be worth a slightly lower salary. But if the benefits aren’t there, the salary should make up for the difference.

Compare and Contrast

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Compare the benefits offered with what you would pay for those perks out of pocket and decide how to work that into your salary.

The post Gender Pay Gap Persists: Women Earn 84 Cents for Every Dollar Men Make first appeared on Swift Feed.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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