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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

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Gender wage gap continues to divide


Despite the Paycheck Fairness Act’s improvement to the Equal Pay Act, the wage gap between men and women prevails.

And it’s an issue to Introduction to Women’s Studies adjunct professor Tracy Butler.

“(It) is still very much a big concern for feminists everywhere,” Butler said. “It is especially alarming that women of color are paid even less than white women. Many people argue that women are paid less because they choose to pursue traditionally lower-paid professions (such as) teaching, nursing, etc. But even within lower-paid professions, women are paid less than men.”

The PFA was introduced Jan. 2013 to improve the current standing Equal Pay Act. In addition to discrimination of sex, PFA prohibits education, training or experience from being a factor for a gender to receive less of a wage rate than its counterpart.

Even in academia, where there are more women enrolled in college than men, women who are recent college graduates start out making less money than their male counterparts, according to The American Association of University Women.

“If the overall population of American women are better educated than their male counterparts, then why are they being paid less on average?” Butler said. “All of this information taken together suggests that the pay gap correlates to gender bias, plain and simple.”

UH’s Student Feminist Organization president and creative writing senior Celestina Billington said that discrepancy in pay, based on gender, is discriminatory and should not be happening in 2015.

“If you are student, it is assumed you’re going to get a career,” Billington said. “You’re spending upwards of thousands of dollars for that opportunity. People are working the same amount but the fact that the same work going into it isn’t being seen as equal based on gender is really disturbing.”

The American Association of University Women’s report, The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, states that a woman is paid 78 cents for every dollar a man is paid.

The report also explains the pay gap in the U.S. by addressing factors such as age, race and education levels and how they intersect with gender.

Women and Gender Resource Center Program Coordinator Malkia Hutchinson said that all people deserve to be compensated for their work and resources like the Smart Salary Negotiation Workshop drive that point home by teaching people, especially women, to stand up for themselves in the workplace.

“Over the course of a woman’s life, they are paid less than men for the same work, but everyone should be compensated fairly for the work that they do,” Hutchinson said. “You want to be paid what your skills are worth.”

Butler encourages students to attend the Smart Start Salary Negotiation Workshop, which the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies department hosts every semester.

The Smart Start Salary Negotiation Workshop takes place Dec. 11, from 9 a.m. to noon in 210 Agnes Arnold Hall and is free to the public.

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