Legally Destroying The Gender Gap


Jessica Miller-Merrell, blogging4jobs

Despite tremendous growth in select sectors, women are still only paid 77 percent of what their male counterparts make according to the American Association of University Women. Women earn less for numerous reasons including field of study, occupation, and the number of hours they work during the work week. The Paycheck Fairness Act is now being introduced for the third time in four years in the United States Senate.

Leading the charge, Senator Barbara Mikulski and Representative Rosa DeLauro are aiming to prohibit companies from retaliating against workers who discuss salary information. The law also requires employers to prove pay discrepancies among workers, despite race, age, gender, or any other demographic information. It would also require businesses to tie pay to job performance.

As we discussed last week in The Performance Review Formal or Informal employers are avoiding crucial conversations and are creeping further away from connecting job performance with pay increases. The Lilly Ledbetter Act was not enough to fix the gender gap and these two crusaders are aiming to end pay discrimination once and for all. Workers are currently discouraged from sharing any type of pay information with their co-workers, as many employers know it will create inner office conflict and in some cases termination is a result.

Senator DeLauro, who has been the one responsible for introducing the Paycheck Fairness Act for each of the past eight congresses, designed this piece of legislation to help women who believe themselves to be a part of gender-based wage discrimination. Her dedication to this topic is both revered and discouraged. Some relate the notion of repeatedly banging their head against the wall to DeLauro’s attempt to demolish the gender gap legally. This sensitive topic could very well be one of those introduced time and time again until enough votes are received to move it along in parliamentary procedure.

Will this be the final time this bill is being introduced into the Senate or will it be taken to its 9th congressional term? Only time will tell. 

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs.


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