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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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