Letter: Inequality still prevalent for women, minorities

To the Editor,

For thousands of years, women were considered inferior to men and even men’s property. Women weren’t paid for their labor. Women are making progress. Now, women are only underpaid.

It takes the average woman 15 months of work to make as much as the average man makes in one year. That’s what we’ll be “celebrating” on April 8—Equal Pay Day.

Consider that more than 50 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women and minorities continue to suffer the consequences of unequal pay.

According to a 2012 American Association of University Women’s study, college-educated women working full-time over the course of a lifetime earn about half a million dollars less than their male peers.

The New York State Women’s Equality Act and the federal Paycheck Fairness Act would advance equal pay by closing existing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act, which allow employers to fire or reprimand employees who share wage information, and by increasing damages in successful claims.

Fair pay strengthens the security of families today and eases future retirement costs, while enhancing the American economy.

We need to create a workplace that is fair to women and minorities.

For so many years, women and minorities could only get hired for certain jobs—retail clerk, child care worker, nurse, orderly, teacher, food care worker, cook—and because of that, these jobs continue to be discriminated against in terms of pay.

There is a societal bias that says, unconsciously, “if it can be done by women and minorities, it doesn’t require a lot of skill or responsibility.”

Employers need to use a gender-neutral job evaluation system. The Women’s Equality Act and the pay equity bills that the New York State Assembly has championed and will be passing again on April 8 are steps in the right direction.

Let your state senator know you think women and minorities should be treated fairly in the workplace.

 

Elisabeth N. Radow,

President, League of Women Voters of Larchmont/Mamaroneck