In Utah, a woman makes 69.9 cents for every dollar that a man earns, according to The National Women’s Law center. This discrepancy is an example of a systematic problem that has existed in America for generations.
On Aug. 18, 1920, a historical bill was ratified that would change the United States forever — the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. Their voices mattered in the democratic process for the first time.
The landmark legislation was the result of the women’s suffrage movement, which began in the early 1820s, a century before the passage of the bill.
While women in America have continued to make strides in equality, a new issue has come to the forefront: wage gaps between men and women.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make less than men in almost every career path imaginable. For example, a fulltime male Human Resource worker is paid a median monthly wage of $1,257, compared to just $912 for a female.
A woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, was asked about her pay in her field. She works an hourly restaurant job and was asked if she felt that there is a wage gap at her place of work.
“I know that in my job it is highly frowned upon when we talk about our wages. They say that people feel that it is unfair if one person is getting paid more than another to do the same job. I think the most important factors for determining how much someone should make is their experience level and how long they have been with the company. I honestly don’t know if there is a pay gap at my company. I know I get paid more than others who are doing the same job, but I’ve worked for the company for three and a half years and I am a certified trainer.”
She adds that, “I also know that that in other jobs people get paid based on what they know and how long they have been with the company. I think it really depends on the company.”
More female celebrities are voicing their support for equal pay.
Patricia Arquette gave a rousing speech at this year’s Oscar Awards. “It is our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” Other celebrities such as Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez gave her a standing ovation because of her speech and political statement.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was passed to insure equal pay for men and women. In spite of this legislation, disparities still exist in the workforce. The law has not been edited or updated since.
This month is Women’s History Month, when America celebrates the many accomplishments of women to society; however, more history can be made. If you are interested on how you can get the pay gap narrowed or even eradicated, contact your local legislators and voice your concerns.