Students discuss importance of equal pay

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On average, a woman makes 82 cents for every dollar a man makes in the United States.

Addie Clayton, Reporter

Equal Pay in the U.S. is an ongoing issue that negatively affects many Americans. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), equal pay can be defined as the circumstance where both men and women are paid the same amount of money for working the same job. As of 2020, the average woman in the U.S. makes 82 cents for every dollar a man makes. In Kansas, the average woman makes 78 cents for every dollar a man makes according to United Women’s Empowerment.  

In 1963, The Equal Pay Act signed by John F. Kennedy made it illegal to wage discriminate based on sex. Although the law was in order, people found loopholes, inadequate remedies and adverse court rulings and therefore weakened the law according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Even though the act was signed, the pay has not been equal for more than 50 years according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

 “Pay inequality has its roots in the women’s rights and civil rights movements throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries. It continues to be a problem due to the laws that have been put in place that allow for loopholes that let companies continue to pay women and people of color less for their work,” junior Madeline Duncan said.

The wage gap has closed 22% since the Equal Pay Act was signed. As of April 2021, an equal pay bill is in the works and has been passed by the house but is awaiting being passed within the senate. This bill will make it easier to sue employers and overall strengthen the Equal Pay Act according to the Society for Human Resource Management

“I have seen many people speak out on this issue of what men make and what women make, it also is sexist that men are more likely to be given job promotions just because they are men,” freshman Lanayah Rivera said. “It is an issue because it’s been going on for years and we aren’t talking about it.”

According to the AAUW, equal pay goes even further than just women. The idea can also be broken down by race. Asian women make 87% of what a White man makes, White women make 79%, Black women make 63%, American Indian women make 60% and Hispanic women make 55%. 

“I believe that equal pay is still an issue in today’s society. Studies show that there hasn’t been very much progress in pay equality, despite what many people say,” Duncan said.

AAUW projections say that men and women will not get paid equally for working the same job until 2093 with the rate pay equality is headed right now. 

“It is the first in a host of issues that plague women every day and so I believe that it is important that this problem is being addressed. It is a stepping stone and starting point to continue the fight for women’s rights and addressing other issues within our society,” Duncan said.

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