Nearly everyone knows, and has for a very long time, the official Bureau of Labor Department statistics that show that the median earnings of full-time female workers are 77 percent of the median earnings of full-time male workers. But what are we doing about it, and just how entrenched is the problem?
Fifty years ago, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act (EPA), which requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work in the same establishment. Multiple loopholes have, however, prevented the (EPA) from fully remedying gender pay inequity.
With President Obama’s support, the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) has twice been introduced to close some of the EPA’s loopholes and make wage differences more transparent. For example, the National Organization for Women details that the PFA “clarifies acceptable reasons for differences in pay by requiring employers to demonstrate that wage gaps between men and women doing the same work have a business justification and are truly a result of factors other than sex.”
The PFA also seeks to make wage differences more transparent, as most companies have either official or unofficial rules about colleagues disclosing their pay to one another, making it more difficult to uncover pay inequity.
The bill was approved by the House in 2009, but failed to moved forward in the Senate. In 2012, the bill didn’t obtain enough votes to make it to the Senate floor for debate.
With little political or corporate support for pay equality, it looks as though the gender pay gap will be around for quite some time.
But in addition to earning less than men, women face another kind of barrier to career success: boys clubs.
Since April of this year, the Tumblr Boys Clubs has been shining a light on “corners of the world where women have yet to tread” by revealing boards, committees, executive and management teams, and even ones-to-watch lists that are not only dominated by, but completely monopolized, by men.
To name but a few:
Visit the Boys Clubs Tumblr for many, many more. It’s a bit like watching a wreck, mouth agape, unable to look away.
According to CNN, women “now account for about 60% of U.S. bachelor’s degree holders,” yet have yet to earn the same wages as men or be let into the long-standing boys clubs of the world. Beyoncé claims girls run the world, but this evidence points to the contrary. Will this always just be a man’s world? Or will one day Beyoncé be right about absolutely everything?