Equal pay is still given lip service these days, and for good reason -- men still earn more than women for doing the same jobs:
That's some real money right there. For every $1,000 a man earns, a woman earns $780. Obviously less if you're not a white woman. In addition, today marks the occasion when a woman's earnings finally catch up with a man's from the previous year. So men could have not worked at all this year until today, and would have made as much money as a woman in the same job did last year. Nice.
According to the Census Bureau, women earned 78 cents for every $1 in wages received by men in 2007.
For African-American and Hispanic women, the disparity was even greater: 69 cents for the former and 59 cents for the latter.
One of the first things President Obama did when he took office was sign the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and that's great. But it's not enough. We should be at the point where women are getting paid fairly in the first place and therefore don't have to sue over this issue. To try to get us there, the House has already passed a bill called the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is now in the Senate. This is an important bill; write to your Senators and urge them to vote for it. Read more about the bill here, and find your Senators' contact information here.
How silly is it that this is still in issue, when President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963.
And women, stand up for yourselves when it comes to your money. Don't be afraid to negotiate or ask for a raise, or even to learn a new skill or computer program if it will help you. If you're not sure how to approach the issue, ask some friends, find a mentor or search for tips online. There's plenty of resources out there. Men, don't think this is just a "feminist" issue. Surely you know a couple women, right? And surely don't want your mother, or sister, or spouse making less money just because of her gender. If your daughter wants to be a teacher when she grows up, shouldn't she get paid just the same as a male teacher with the same experience?