What Generates Pay Inequity?
Heidi Hartmann, President, Institute for Women's Policy Research
Women make up almost half of the workforce, and are often the sole or co-breadwinner in half of American families with children.
Pay inequality has far-reaching harmful economic consequences. Equalizing women’s and men’s pay would cut poverty among working women and their families by more than half and add $512.6 billion to the national economy. The provisions of the 1963 Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibit wage discrimination and hiring based on sex, race, or national origin among employees and applicants for work. Nonetheless, the gender wage gap, and the racial wage gap persist.
To address the causes of these disparities, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) continually produces analysis and data driven policy recommendations. While there is no magic bullet, there are numerous points of intervention.
For one example, businesses should stop requesting the salary history of job candidates, and new hires.
For another example, comparable worth (equal pay for jobs of equal value) would also make a significant difference: by determining the value of the job, not the value of the person, the continuing cycle of discriminatory wage payment could be halted and wage inequality could be reduced. Additional causes of disparities and solutions will be presented.
Taking action now can change the status of women, families, and the economy, and American businesses and public policy could in turn contribute to a positive global model.