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Amanda Mustard

For as long as we can remember, pay equality has been a big

issue within the workplace, especially when its comes to women.

Equal pay has been law since 1963. But still 38 years later,

women are still being paid less then men. Even when females

have the same education, skills, and experience.

In the last two decades, women?s participation in the work

force has been increasing in most areas of the world. In 1996,

almost 45% of women aged 15-64, in the world were employed in

some way or another. Female employment rates may soon be

approaching those of men. In the United States, Canada, and

Scandinavian countries, women now make up nearly half of the

employed population. In Southeast Asia women make up to 80% of

the labor force and in China women make up almost 70%.

With facts like these it makes us wonder why, if women make

up most of the work force, why don?t women get paid the same as

men? Especially, if women are qualified, educated, and able to

work the same job as a man. It goes back in time, when women

were the ones expected to stay home with the children, cook, and

clean the house. Women were never treated or respected the same

as men. Women were looked upon as weak, uneducated, and not able

to fill the shoes of a man. In some aspects these stereo types

still exist. Women are still expected to hold down ?women jobs?

for example secretaries, flight attendants, housekeepers, and

waitresses. Alot of women are breaking down the stereo types by

becoming doctors, lawyers, bankers, and construction workers.

This only shows that women are in every way capable to fill

the shoes of a man in the workplace. But still why isn?t the

pay equal? Who gives anyone the right to say a woman can not

earn the same salary as a man, when the same hours and amount of

effort is going into the same job. Sure, women have come along

way since the days they weren? t able to vote, or go to work at

all. But it is the year 2001 and the cost of living is going up

for both genders, it is only right that women earn the same pay

as men. It is not as though women get charged less for rent or

food or utilities.

In 1998, women were paid 73 cents on every dollar, a man was

earning in the same position. That?s 27 dollars less to spend on

things like groceries, shelter, child expenses, and other

necessities. Woman of colour in overseas countries have it the

worst. In Africa, women earn only 67 cents and Latinos only 58

cents for every dollar a man earns. The average 25 year old

female will lose up to $523 000 to unequal pay during her

lifetime. If women are paid less now while they are working,

there will be less money to save for futures and family in the

years after retirement. Women will earn smaller pensions then

men. In 1999, a women receiving a private pension got $3 486 per

year. Where as a man received $7 020 per year.

Between 1986 and 1996, women?s earnings improved. After the

several times income tax has increased, women?s earnings have

gone from 52% to 60% of men?s. These numbers were based on the

averages of men and women aged 18 years of age and older.

There are many organizations throughout the world that

support and represent the issues regarding pay equality towards

woman. The Federal and Provincial Ministers of Canada came up

with a project called The Economic Gender Equality Indicators.

This project is used to raise the awareness of differences

between men and women in the job world, monitor the changes of

equality throughout time, and look into gender issues that raise

concern in society. This project also recognizes women in

today?s society and that they work twice as hard, than in past

years. A typical woman puts in a full week at work as well as all

the responsibilities at home, for example raising children. This

project gives credit to women for their paid and unpaid work.

The biggest and most well known organization in Canada, is

The Ministry of Women?s Equality in British Columbia. It is

Canada?s biggest ministry dedicated to equality for women. It

was formed in November of 1991, by the government in B.C. The

ministry researches and educates equality for women in all areas

from the workplace to the community. The ministry

believes that all men and women share the same equality in the

workplace and in society. It?s vision is to have a society where

women of all ages, backgrounds, sexual preference, and religions

will be able to have equal opportunities and choices throughout

their lives. The ministry also provides support groups in

various communities for women.

In Canada we are lucky to have organizations like these that

women from all walks of life can turn to for advice and support.

If every province in Canada formed their own women?s

group like the one in B.C., things would change. If all women

band together, the government and labor associations may listen

and acknowledge this issue more seriously.

Alot of studies and surveys have been conducted on this

topic. Many of all the studies come to the conclusion that

working women provide more than half or more of their family?s

total income. When women earn equal pay, their family?s income

rises and the whole family benefits. Unequal pay also has an

effect on men in the work force. Occupations that tend to be

called ?women?s jobs? tend to pay less, do to the fact mostly

women are employed in these fields. Where as ?man jobs? tend to

pay more. So if a man takes on a ?woman job? he isn?t earning as

much as there is to be earned.

This issue I?m sure will go on for many years to come.

There will be many different cases we will hear of, of women

being paid unfairly for the career or job they work hard at.

This will go on until society as a whole gets over their stereo

typical images of women, and realize we are not living in the

1950?s anymore. This is the year 2001, and people should wake up

and realize it is time for a change.

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