Why Equal Pay Between Genders is Necessary
In a market economy, workers are inevitably going to be underpaid. Businesses want to maximize profits which often results in pay cuts for employees. Currently, women are earning roughly 80 cents for each dollar a man earns. In the United States, in general, the higher education a person obtains, the higher wage they earn. Both men and women collect higher wages when they are more educated; however, a women with a PHD earns about the same as a man with a bachelor’s degree. On one hand people argue women earn less due to discrimination. On the other hand people argue that women earn less because of the fields they enter. Jobs in science and computer fields typically earn higher salaries compared to other fields that require a college education. While women are misrepresented in a portion of higher paying jobs, in fields that employ both genders equally, women are still earning lower wages. For example, women that enter business related jobs earned 84 percent of the income a man earned. In multiple science related fields this number is even lower. Government must ensure women receive equal pay because equal pay aligns with our values and the economy would benefit.
The labor force was primarily controlled by men prior to World War II. Most families had men working while women stayed at home. In 1950 men controlled 70.4 percent of the labor force, while women contributed to only 29.6 percent. In the vast majority of families, men were the main, if not the only, source of income in the household. After 1950, women entered the labor force at a higher rate. Currently, men still are the main source of income in the majority of households, but in the United States as a whole, families are becoming more reliant on the wife’s income. This reliance is primarily due to college rates among gender. Women are going to college at higher rate compared to men. Each year, more women attend college, whereas the same number of men roughly attend college. With women earning more degrees, they will have more control of the high skill, high wage jobs, thus making families more reliant on the mother’s income.
Paying women more is necessary as it aligns with our objective values. Pay is often determined on qualifications and the value an employee provides. Although, men and women have the same qualifications after obtaining a degree, women are seeing much lower after college incomes compared to men. Most employers just feel they can pay women less because women have historically been underpaid. Since men used to attend college more often than women, their earnings were much higher. The rise in pay for women increased but many employers still pay women much less than they deserve. Since they know they can get away with it, employers will pay women less to save money. As a society, we expect that education should determine earnings.
The United States economy would thrive if women received a raise. If wages went up for women, consumer spending would rise. A portion of households where women are the main income earners are single parent households. African American women make up a large portion of these single parent households. The wage gap for African American women is lower than the average women. African American women make on average 64 cents for each dollar men earn. Due to this ludicrous wage gap, many of these single parent households are living in poverty. In order to stimulate the economy, women must earn a raise. The distribution of income is getting worse each year in the United States. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. We need to put money into the hands of consumers that will spend it. Women make up a large portion of the lower and middle class because of the wage gap. Women receiving a raise would strengthen the middle class and increase spending. Taking no action to increase the salary for women will only make the hurt the lower and middle class. Giving women a raise strengthens the middle class and increases spending.
Women need a pay raise before their economics problems get worse. Many people believe that paying women more will have negative impacts for the economy. When businesses pay higher wages, they might have to fire people. In general, higher costs force business to cut production. Although this may be the case for some businesses, we must take action before the problem gets worse. Each year more women are attending college. These women are earning higher wages than would without attending college, but often struggle with paying off student debt. The cost of cost is the same for each gender even though women receive much lower income after college. This forces women start out on the wrong foot when entering the labor force. It only gets tougher for women as many of them are required to leave the labor force when they have children. The cost to send a child to daycare is often too expensive for families forcing the mother to stay at home with their children. We must give women a raise to allow them to keep their jobs while having kids. Paying women more would allow multiple families to have two parents earning income throughout their lifetime. Women that leave the workforce will often have a hard time picking back up where they left off. Paying women more will ensure that women don’t miss out on a large portion of income.
A way to ensure women are paid fairly is have the Paycheck Fairness Act put in place. The Paycheck Fairness Act would amend the current law regarding payment for each gender which is Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Lilly Ledbetter Act of 2009. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 has multiple aspects that need to be fixed. Implementing the Paycheck Fairness Act would “require the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to collect data on compensation, hiring, termination, and promotion sorted by sex” (S.84–113th Congress). If we made employers report earnings to an agency, businesses would be forced to pay each gender equally. If employers still underpaid women, then the government could then step in. We must enforce the Paycheck Fairness Act because women often don’t realize they are underpaid until it is too late. This was seen in the case of Lilly Ledbetter. Lilly Ledbetter was an employee for Goodyear Tire and Rubber. She noticed after about 20 years she had been discriminated by receiving lower wages compared to men that worked in the company. Lilly realized she was earning lower wages when she received an anonymous letter with the salaries of male employers at Goodyear. She reported these findings to the EEOC and the case went to trial. The jury awarded Lilly $3.3 million in compensation for the discrimination. The decision was reversed when “The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the jury verdict, holding that her case was filed too late — even though Ms. Ledbetter continued to receive discriminatory pay — because the company’s original decision on her pay had been made years earlier” (“Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — NWLC.”). The case finally went to the Supreme Court where they passed The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. This act allows employees to file a claim 180 days while they are employed instead of 180 days after their wage is set. This an example of why we must enforce the Paycheck Fairness Act. Women don’t realize how much income they are missing out on. We must have an agency going over the statistics to ensure payment is equal between each gender.
Women have multiple obstacles that force them to take lower wages. Discrimination is often the main cause for lower wages. As a society we must ensure pay equality between genders. We can’t make employers share wages of employees within the company, but actions can be taken to ensure women are getting the correct salaries for their work. The Paycheck Fairness Act does not have to be the way to enforce pay equality. We just need an agency to ensure that women are receiving the correct wages for their work. Because paying women more aligns with our values and has positive economic outcomes.