Anniversary of the 19th Amendment still a long way to go

Today, on the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day.

19th Amendment

19th Amendment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we look at the work-market we can see that still a lot is not all-right. The day-to-day operations of too many businesses and institutions still don’t reflect true gender equality.

English: Gender Pay Gap in the 27 states of th...

Gender Pay Gap in the 27 states of the EU according to Eurostat 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 As well as in Europe as in the United States of America men and women are not yet treated in equal ways. In the industrialised countries women, on average, continue to earn less than their male counterparts (and that’s 51 years after the Equal Pay Act passed), and the gap is even greater for women of colour. Our workplace policies, on the whole, force many working parents to choose between their job and their family — and that’s wrong. And in Europe for youngsters it becomes even more difficult to not work with two to be able to afford the bills.

You would think that today there is no reason to be afraid to have an unlimited power pushed into the hands of the husbands. But in many families it is the man in the house who shall decide what the woman can do to make the necessary extra income.

In the United States of America it was in 1848 that women across the country gathered together for the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. And it wasn’t until 72 years after that, in 1920, that women in the United States officially gained the right to vote. 94 years later we are still not far enough. While it’s undeniable that women have made leaps and bounds in every facet of American life, from the classroom to the boardroom — it’s not enough.

Some jobs may be proud to say they do not make a difference between male, female and age, but those employers do not remunerate according age and loyalty to the firm. Often we can see that the employees their efforts are poorly rewarded. By those who pay more and according to time having work for the employer, granting seniority payment, we notice there is a difference for the male and female workers. Older women also participate in the workforce at lower rates than younger women. The percent of older women who are working has increased since the mid-1990s, partially offsetting the overall decline.

At the other end of the spectrum, young women are more likely to be enrolled in school than they were a generation ago, and that’s good news. Since students (even ones who work part-time) are not considered to be in the labour force, increased school enrolment will depress the participation rate.

Over the past forty years, American society has been transformed by an increasing role of women in the economy, but in 2014, far more can still be done to expand economic opportunities for women. While female labour force participation rose through the 1970s and 1980s, it began to stall in the 1990s. Yet women have continued to make gains in earning educational credentials — today young women are more likely than young men to be college graduates and equally likely to have many advanced degrees. As a result, women have continued to make inroads in traditionally male – dominated occupations and have succeeded in reducing defacto occupational segregation.

Women increasing labor participation in America 2014Despite these improvements, a gender wage gap persists: on average, full-time year-round female workers earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts.

While the wage gap reflects a variety of causes, it is clear that there are wage gaps across the income distribution, within occupations, and are seen even when men and women are working side-by-side performing similar tasks.

Additionally, women are still more likely to work in low-wage occupations and are more likely than men to earn the minimum wage. For this reason, the President’s proposal to raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation would help shrink the gender wage gap by nearly 5%.

Crucially, raising wages for women means raising income for families, as women continue to account for a rising share of family income. In 2013, married women’s earnings were on average nearly 45% of total family earnings.

Women's earning family income 1947-2014

Womens earnings 1947-2014Having women, on average, earning less than their male counterparts 51 years after the Equal Pay Act passed should get us red cheeks.

In most civilised countries we can find women now making up the majority of college and graduate students. This is a nice improvement. But what after they finish college or university?

A greater share of young women have obtained four-year college degrees than men. Today, the share of young women enrolled in graduate school is more than 25% higher than the share of men. Whilst in many European countries the government is loosing interest to invest in the youngsters their education, schools and study material, America stimulates increasing college attainment and is very well aware of the importance to their economic competitiveness. Though in many countries tuition and fees have sky-rocketed over the past decade, making it more difficult for normal households to invest in a higher education for their future, in some countries like the USA it is made possible to get a study loan. Today’s college students borrow and rack up more debt than ever before. Such loans make it the person starts working with already a deficit. In 2010, graduates who took out loans left college owing an average of more than $26,000. Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt for the first time ever.

Our nation’s commitment to placing a good education within reach of all who are willing to work for it helped build a strong middle class over the past several generations should be one of our priorities. In keeping this promise alive, President Obama has expanded federal support to help more students afford college, while calling for a shared responsibility in tackling rising college costs. President Obama’s efforts of reform in higher education funding have produced the largest investment in student aid since the G.I. Bill, while resulting in a more efficient, reliable, and effective system for students to help them afford college and manage debt.

The President is calling on Congress to advance new reforms to give more hard working students a fair shot at pursuing higher education, because education is not a luxury: it is an economic imperative that every hard working and responsible student should be able to afford. President Obama has emphasized that the federal government, states, colleges, and universities all have a role to play in making higher education more affordable, by reining in college costs, providing value for American families, and preparing students with a solid education to succeed in their careers.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama emphasized this shared responsibility of states and higher education institutions — working with the federal government — to promote access, affordability and attainment in higher education by reining in college costs, providing value for American families, and preparing students with a high quality education to succeed in their careers. It is not enough to increase federal student aid alone — state policy-makers and individual colleges and universities bear a shared responsibility to take action against rising college tuition and costs.

Providing greater pathways for students to enter into and succeed in higher education is in the interest not only of all Americans, but for the whole industrialist world and economic market. A good foundation of education creates more security and a safe base for economic stability. A good formation is critical to developing a highly educated, highly skilled economy and workforce that will attract business and lead to lower unemployment. The American Administration has taken several steps and advanced several proposals to put higher education greater within reach for more America.*

Today, female college graduates ages 30 to 34 are just as likely to be employed as doctors, dentists, lawyers, professors, managers and scientists as they are to be employed as teachers, nurses, librarians, secretaries or social workers.

This is a big deal, and reflects the closing of a substantial gap. Women in the 1960’s were 7 times more likely to work in traditionally female occupations. Studies estimate that 15% to 20% of wage growth in the last 50 years was due to a decline in barriers to occupational choice.

So we’ve made a lot of progress, but clearly there’s more work to be done to get more women into predominately male-dominated fields and more men into female-dominated fields. For example, less than 20% of graduates in computer science and engineering are women, down from 37% in 1985. Reducing barriers to female occupational choice, including gender discrimination, would not only raise women’s earnings, but would also increase overall productivity by better matching workers’ skills to jobs.

Since 1990, the U.S. has dropped from 7th to 16th in that category among advanced democracies—that’s in the bottom third. In fact, The United States of America is the only developed country that does not guarantee paid maternity leave.

Female Labour force 1990-2014The president of the U.S.A. is convinced that with the right policy changes, they can jump back up the leader-board and help expand opportunity for millions of women. Paid leave and other policies that enable workers to better balance work and family obligations could help boost female labour force participation. One study estimated that U.S. female labor force participation would be 6.8 percentage points higher if the U.S. had implemented a suite of family-friendly policies. (cc Republicans in Congress)

Highly-educated women with professional degrees tend to begin their careers at approximately the same salary level as their male counterparts, but as their careers progress, a gender gap opens up. By their late 30’s, men with professional degrees earn 50% more than their female counterparts.

So how do we fix that? Beginning with the first bill he signed into law, President Obama’s been fighting to help women receive the pay they deserve. But he can’t do it all by himself. Congress needs to act to help ensure equal pay for women.

The U.S.A. Administration has a long history of shattering their remaining glass ceilings and upholding the rights of women — but real gender equality is going to take more than the President acting alone.

Right now, there’s legislation before Congress that would make it better — that would make it easier for women to discuss what they’re being paid, and to do something about it.

So if you’re ready to see broader, meaningful action on these issues, then get the facts and help spread the word.

No major achievement for women’s rights in this country has come easily. It’s always taken a determined group of women and men alike, doing everything they could to organize, protest, and agitate the system they aimed to change.

The year 2014 is no different. So if you’re ready for real equality for women, then make sure everyone you know has the facts.

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Notes:

* The U.S.A. President is proposing an investment of $55 million in a new First in the World competition, to support public and private colleges and non-profit organizations as they work to develop and test the next breakthrough strategy that will boost higher education attainment and student outcome, while leading to reduced costs.

Additional reading:

Learn more about how President Obama’s fighting to make college more affordable for women (and men).

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  • Private Colleges May Not Be Worth the Price of Admission (dailyfinance.com)
    Given that, you might expect that the more exclusive and prestigious the college you attend, the better your chances for increased success. But given the enormous and growing burden of student loan debt on recent grads, it’s reasonable to ask: Are private colleges really worth their expensive tuition?
  • The gender pay gap is real and really important (newny23rd.com)
    Tuesday, April 8, 2014, was Equal Pay Day.  Equal Pay Day reflects the gender wage gap–the gross amount women working full time are paid less than men. The gap today is about 23 cents on the dollar. This amount is significant–if a man makes $1.6 million during a 40 year career, a typical woman would make $400,000 less.  In at least one way the 23% gap understates the problem–the gap is greater for women in minority groups.

    Equal Pay Day brought out any number of nay-sayers and apologists claiming the wage gap is a myth, that it doesn’t compare equal jobs, that women choose to be paid less.

  • For Women, Student Loan Debt Is an Even Bigger Crisis (aauw.org)
    As outstanding student loans surpass every other form of non-mortgage debt, it is becoming increasingly expensive to finance a college degree. Nearly 40 million people are saddled with student loan debt, totaling nearly $1.2 trillion in loans. Seventy-one percent of college seniors who graduated in 2012 have loan debt, averaging $30,000 per bachelor’s degree. Though debt is a crisis for all students, the burden falls even harder on women because of the persistent gender pay gap.

    These staggering numbers are part of the reason why several senators introduced a bill last month to reform the borrowing system. Unfortunately blocked by Senate Republicans in a 56–38 procedural vote, the bill would have allowed student borrowers to refinance their debt at 2013-level interest rates. This option could help borrowers save a few thousand dollars over the life of their loans.

  • Male-Female Pay Gap Persists and Starts Early, Study Finds (drhiphop85.com)
    In the study, researchers with the American Association of University Women looked at the earnings of female and male college graduates who were working full time in 2009 (the most recent year for which data were available), one year after they graduated. According to a reportdescribing the study, “Graduating to a Pay Gap,” the researchers found that, after controlling for factors such as college major, occupation, and number of hours worked, women’s pay was 82 percent of their male counterparts’ pay one year after graduation.

    Christianne M. Corbett, a senior researcher at the AAUW and a co-author of the report, said her organization had been tracking the pay gap for decades, but it was hard to compare women and men in the work force because of different choices they might make in their careers.

    “We decided that to really compare apples to apples, we had to look right at the beginning of the college-educated workers’ careers,” she said.

    The results showed that, on average, men earned nearly $8,000 more than women did one year after graduating. (The figures were $42,918 for men and $35,296 for women.) The study also showed that college major is an important factor in graduates’ earnings. For example, women who majored in business earned about $38,000, while their male counterparts earned about $45,000, one year out. Such a gap was typical of all types of majors, including fields that are predominantly female, such as teaching.

  • Student debt Time for 1990s graduates to pay up (dailymail.co.uk)
    At the moment, people who took out a student loan before 1998 are able to put off repayments for a year if they earn less than £28,775 to stop them getting into financial difficulties.
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    The Money Charity calculates that students from England need to find as much as £750 a month extra – whether from family, working, or turning to loans and overdrafts – on top
    of their financial support to meet their overall living costs.
  • Report: Female grads earn $8,000 less than men (fox6now.com)
    Women who worked full-time jobs one year after receiving their diplomas earned 82 cents for every dollar men earned. That’s according to a report from the American Association of University Women, which analyzed data from a Department of Education survey of 15,000 graduates conducted in 2009, the most recent data available.

    While men earned average salaries of $42,918, women earned $35,296 — a nearly $8,000 difference, the report found.
    +
    Female business majors, for example, earned a little over $38,000, while men earned more than $45,000. Among men and women who took teaching jobs, women earned 89% of what men earned. And while men reported working 45 hours a week compared to the 43 hours reported by women, among those who said they work 40 hours a week, women earned 84% of what men earned (across all jobs).

  • Why is the gender pay gap higher for management jobs? (flipchartfairytales.wordpress.com)
    The Chartered Management Institute and XpertHR published the results of a survey on the gender pay gap last week. It found that female managers earn less than their male counterparts, with the gap increasing with age. At 23 percent, the management gender pay gap is wider than the 19.7 percent in the workforce as a whole.

    Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 15.03.33

  • Gender pay gap: women bosses earn 35% less than male colleagues (theguardian.com)
    The average pay gap between men and women aged between 46 and 60 stands at £16,680 a year, while among company directors men take home £21,084 more than their female colleagues.

    Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), said: “This is all about apathy and ignorance. Companies think it is not a problem for them, so they don’t do anything about it. Every company needs to conduct its own survey. It is pretty obvious a lot of the FTSE 350 are [paying their female managers less than men] for the data to turn out like this. There are very few good guys.”

  • Canada leads on wage equity, but there’s still a gap to close: Editorial (thestar.com)
    Canada is at the top of the gender equality wage scale, according to the latest study. On average the 9 million women in our labour force earn 71 per cent of the wages of men. That puts us 10 points ahead of the average for members of the club.
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    Canada doesn’t have a lot to crow about, says Oxfam, which released the wide-ranging study Monday with the Berlin-based Heinrich Boll Foundation. “Progress in women’s labour force participation has slowed to a halt over the past two decades and the gap between men’s and women’s shares of earned income has remained virtually unchanged,” Oxfam says.
    Women’s progress in the job market is slowed by lack of federally funded child care facilities, and some working women have been thrown onto the mercy of unregulated home daycares, as the Star has written. Nor are fiscal policies that are an incentive to stay at home — think of the Harper government’s $2.5 billion annual cash giveaway for child care — any help in redressing the wider income imbalance. Such women end up contributing less to pensions and employment insurance. Many have lower salaries on re-entering the workplace, and if divorced or widowed are more likely to end up in poverty in their older years.
  • Thanks For Making Us Equal, Men. XOXO, The Ladies (wonkette.com)
    thank you, men, for letting us live in your country after we pop you out of our vaginas and give you life, and telling us that when Jesus wrote the Declaration of Independence and said that All Men Are Created Equal, he meant all men and ladies too, wink wink, even though he did not mean that until 1920, or 1963, or 1974, or whenever it is exactly that we achieved full equality — it’s just so hard to be certain, and you know how we ladies are with math — and that is why we do not even need the Equal Rights Amendment because we have all the quality already. In fact, it’s possible we have too much of it and should really give some of it back.

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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One Response to Anniversary of the 19th Amendment still a long way to go

  1. Pingback: Forms of slavery, human trafficking and disrespectful attitude to creation to be changed | Marcus Ampe's Space

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