The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team World Cup win puts a new spotlight on persistent gender pay disparity in the U.S. workplace.
A half-century old promise of fairness won’t be fulfilled without equal pay for equal work.
Almost as quickly as the U.S. Womens Soccer Team’s fourth World Cup victory reignited a national conversation on equal pay, efforts to debunk the disparity between the players and their male counterparts began.
Immediately, the conversation over what constitutes a level playing field was bogged down in the finer points of gross revenue and sponsorships and attendance and percentages and bonuses and so on, until the average person could hardly be blamed for having no idea what to make of it all.
Which has been par for the course in our national conversations on equal pay as well as equal rights for men and women. For more than a half-century, the fundamental question of fairness has often been obscured by a fog of irrelevancy. You want equal rights, be a garbageman! You want men and women to share bathrooms? You want your sister to be drafted?
Yes, there are nuances, as the soccer debate shows. We sense there is something fundamentally wrong when women who win make less than men who lose. But winning records aside, there is generally more revenue coming into men’s sports than women’s. One finds the same shades of gray in trying to compare earnings in other fields with similar variables in revenue, such as entertainment.
But those are not the worlds in which most men and women work – the vast majority of people, that is, for whom unequal pay of even a few dollars an hour really matters in covering basic necessities like food, shelter and transportation, taking a vacation once in a while, and saving a bit for the future. And by most accounts, the gender disparity in the world of work in which most Americans toil is quite real – better than it was a few decades ago, but still quite apparent nonetheless. The Census Bureau in 2017 found women working full-time, year-round were paid 80 percent of what men made. An analysis of median hourly earnings for both full- and part-time workers by the Pew Research Center last year put the figure at 85 percent. As Pew notes, a woman had to work an extra 39 days last year to earn what a man did.
To their credit, New York lawmakers passed several bills this year to address the issue, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed them this week, prohibiting unequal pay for substantially similar work, and forbidding employers from asking prospective employees about their salary history, a subtle way women’s unequal pay is perpetuated even when they change jobs.
Even more than half a century after the enactment of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, we still need these sorts of laws to fine-tune the legal landscape and address the gender pay discrimination that persists in too much of the U.S. economy. With Congress and the presidency at stake …read more
Source:: Daily times