Paging "Dr. Mike"
Do you remember that TV medical western “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” where the female doctor was addressed as Dr. Mike? The show never hid the fact that men and women were considered different in the 1800’s per social understandings and in the eyes of the government. However, are we as a society, as far along as we should be when it comes to gender equality in the workforce?
For example, there are laws (like the Equal Pay Act of 1963) that prohibit the discrimination of pay between genders. The Equal Pay Act (EPA) clearly states that: “The EPA, which is part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended (FLSA), and which is administered and enforced by the EEOC, prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions.”
If this is a law, which has been amended and is enforceable, that companies have to abide by; why are there still wage differences between sexes in the 21st Century? Is it because it is too hard to prove? If so, then how do we know that the average white female makes $0.79 per every $1.00 that a white male makes? How do we know that those numbers differ and decrease based on a woman’s ethnicity?
Is it because, as business owners, we don’t care? Take the laws and regulations out of the argument for a moment; discriminating against someone because they are a woman is wrong and unfair. Gender should have nothing to do with pay.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (passed a year after the EPA) expanded on and addressed further discrimination on equality in the workplace. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. This is a big one right? Companies track the number of employees who fall into these “categories”, and there seems to be voluntary EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) questions at the end of online job applications.
If you think about it (even though they are different), shouldn’t both Acts protect women when it comes to equal pay? Title VII of the Civil Rights Act clearly states that one cannot discriminate based off a person’s sex. The EPA states that pay differences between sexes for similar jobs is discrimination.
We don’t live in the 1800’s. This article isn’t about “women’s lib”; it’s about the rights bestowed upon all of us as Americans, men and women working for a paycheck. Your gender has nothing to do with your performance, and thus it should have nothing to do with your pay.
On a final note, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “The U.S. economy would have produced an additional $482 billion in 2014 if women received equal pay.” That’s in one year alone. That’s something to think about.
April Salsbury, MBA is a strategist, an analyst, an operational guru, a recognized leader and C-suite global healthcare executive with drive and focus for competitive markets. Co-host of The Business Forum Show and regular contributor to various business journals, she possess multi-functional and multi-national competencies with more than 15 years experience in business and healthcare. Her expertise is in invigorating revenue growth and infusing value of lean practices in growing companies through improvements to cash flow and operations management.
Fueling revenue, growth and profit, Salsbury & Co. is a consultancy firm focused on helping businesses and healthcare organizations achieve excellency. Our specialists have executive experience combined with deep functional expertise to provide our clients with services that drive real impact and results.
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