Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pay equity ... in 100 years

Posted By on Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 2:08 PM

click for the interactive graphic
  • Click for the FlowingData interactive graphic.

The “fairer sex” has come a long way from the days of wandering barefoot in the kitchen on Election Day. Women aren’t burning bras on street corners anymore either — in the workplace and the world, gender equality becomes an ever-more attainable goal.

So with today being Equal Pay Day, it begs the question: Why do women still earn significantly less than men?

On April 5, Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed a bill that repealed his state's 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act. Among other things, the act had allowed victims of pay inequity to argue their cases in the much less costly state circuit courts, rather than solely in the federal system.

According to Census statistics released last September, U.S. women earned 77.4 cents for every dollar made by a man in 2010, compared to 77 cents in 2009. Looks like progress? Maybe, maybe not. Considering 50 years ago, women's wages were 61 percent of what their male counterparts earned, that's an average progress of .33 cents per year since the national Equal Pay Act was passed. With that logic, the .4 cents of growth last year was a slight improvement.

Continuing at that current rate, it's going to take another 100 years for the wage gap to close completely.

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