To the Editor:
For thousands of years women were considered inferior to and even men’s property. Women weren’t paid for their labor. Women are making progress. Now women are only underpaid!
It takes the average woman fifteen months of work to make as much as the average man makes in one year. That’s what we’ll be “celebrating” on Equal Pay Day – April 8, 2014.
Consider that more than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women and minorities continue to suffer the consequences of unequal pay. According to a 2012 American Association of University Women’s (AAUW) study, college-educated women working full time over the course of a lifetime earn about half a million dollars less than their male peers.
The New York State Women’s Equality Act and the federal Paycheck Fairness Act would advance equal pay by closing existing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act that allow employers to fire or reprimand employees who share wage information and by increasing damages in successful claims.
Fair pay strengthens the security of families today and eases future retirement costs, while enhancing the American economy. We need to create a workplace that is fair to women and minorities. Because for so many years women and minorities could only get hired for certain jobs – such as retail clerk, child care worker, nurse, orderly, teacher, food care worker, cook, – these jobs continue to be discriminated against in terms of pay. There is a societal bias that says, unconsciously, “if it can be done by women and minorities, it doesn’t require a lot of skill or responsibility.”
Employers need to use a gender neutral job evaluation system. The Women’s Equality Act and the pay equity bills that the NYS Assembly has championed and will be passing again on April 8th 2014 are steps in the right direction. Let your NYS Senator know that you think women and minorities should be treated fairly in the workplace.
Elisabeth N. Radow, President League of Women Voters of Larchmont/Mamaroneck