On June 10th 1963, 165 days before his assassination, President John F. Kennedy signed into action the Equal Pay Act. Unlike anything seen before in Congress in this time period, The Equal Pay Act was written in order to end wage discrimination based on gender. While its intentions were fine, the Act did less than expected in terms of closing the wage gap. In 1974 white working women in the United States made on average 54 cents to every dollar that a white man made, even for the same job. In addition to the historically significant Equal Pay Act, Congress put forth another policy 46 years later with hopes to continue the fight against wage inequality. This policy, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, was signed into law on January 9th, 2009. The Act being the first piece of legislation signed into law by President Obama, overturned a Supreme Court decision that “severely restricted the time period for filing complaints of employment discrimination concerning compensation.” The implementation of this Act was another step forward in the battle of wage inequalities, but the gap continues to affect the lives of women across the nation who are thriving in the same jobs as men. In 2014 women still made only 79 cents for every dollar that a man made.
At the rate things have changed between 2003 & 2013, the wage gap won’t close for another 124 years. However, don't get me wrong, things are progressing. The District of Columbia has the smallest wage gap on record. Luckily, women in the nation's capitol are paid on average 90 percent of what their male counterparts are paid. However, D.C. is the outlier in the problem that is income inequality. In the southern state of Louisiana, women are paid only 65 percent of what men are making for the same jobs. 65 CENTS TO EVERY DOLLAR THAT A WHITE MAN MAKES. Also, take into account that this is what white women are making. The wage gap is even worse for women of minorities, even though the work they are doing is all the same to their white and color male counterparts. On average, women of color make 85-90 percent of what their color male counterparts make while doing the same job. However, these women are only making 54-63 percent of what their white male counterparts are making. Outraged? Good, you should be.
All the evidence above being taken into account, it can be seen how the wage gap is not only unfair but discriminatory against women. It's gone on long enough; the wage gap needs to be sealed shut and closed tighter than a Ziploc. Standing on the sidelines is no longer acceptable, there's change that needs to be done and you need to help do it. The following are just some ways that you can help initiate change:
1. SPEAK UP! Tell your friends and family and everyone you know how big of a problem this inequality really is.
2. Call your Congressional Representative. Lots of individuals don't reach out to their Congressional Representatives. These electorates are there to listen to what you care about and do something about it. Let them know you care about wage equality.
3. If you're a women, learn to negotiate your salary. As time has shown, almost nothing has been done for you, you have to do it yourself.
All together, we can work against the wage gap. Break the glass ceiling. Get what you deserve and most of all, make it known that just because you have the genetic coding of XX and not XY you are worth no less than your male counterparts.