Resource

Combat Discrimination: Strengthen Equal Pay Laws

Fifty-five years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women are still paid less than men. In 2016, a woman working full time, year round was typically paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to a man working full time, year round. The wage gaps experienced by women of color were even larger than the overall gender wage gap—nationally Black women, Native women, and Latinas working full time, year round were typically paid just 63 cents, 57 cents, and 54 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to their non-Hispanic, white male counterparts. While Asian women working full time, year round were typically paid only 87 cents, the wage gap is substantially larger for some subgroups of Asian women. The wage gap persists in all 50 states and in nearly every occupation. Pay discrimination persists in part because of outdated stereotypes that continue to infect workplace decision making, such as the idea that families do not rely on women’s income and that women do not need higher pay, which stand in contrast to the economic reality for women and their families. Stereotypes about appropriate behavior for women also negatively impact earnings for lesbian women and transgender women. Employees, however, lack the tools they need to effectively fight against pay discrimination and employers lack the incentives to proactively reduce pay disparities. Pay discrimination is difficult to detect, in part because 61 percent of private sector employees report that discussing their wages is either prohibited or discouraged by employers. And even when working people discover unfair pay, loopholes in the law make it difficult to hold employers responsible for pay discrimination.

It's time for change, and we must act now. Time's up.