More than half of the U.S. population is female. Despite being a majority, women still lag behind when it comes to the gender pay gap.
Women’s Equality Day, which was yesterday, celebrates women getting the right to vote thanks to the approval of the 19th Amendment in 1920. That was the culmination of a long journey that began in 1848 with the first Women’s Rights Convention held in New York. In 1971, the U.S. Congress officially designated August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.
It took a long time between the first suffrage movement and getting the right to votelike it is taking a long time for men and women to get similar pay for equal, comparable work. To date, a full-time female employee gets 77 cents for every dollar paid to her male counterparts. If she is a Latina, that number is 54 cents for every dollar.
In addition, women make up 52% of the workforce, but only 14.6% of them hold executive-level positions. Two-thirds of minimum wage workers are women, and according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, if the current rate of change continues, pay equity won’t be achieved until 2058.
The U.S. has a long way to go in this area. In the World Economic Forum’s list of the most gender-equal countries, we are No. 23, behind Nicaragua and the Philippines.
In recent years, the Senate has unsuccessfully tried to strengthen legislation against wage discrimination. The idea is to make salaries more transparent and ensure that salary discrepancies are connected to legitimate business matters and not a person’s gender. Republican opposition blocked the legislation in the Senate.
When we talk about equality, it involves salary and much more. This includes respect, the opportunities offered and a sense of fairness that applies to both men and women.
The government has a role in creating a policy framework to improve access and provide better opportunities to women. Likewise, the private sector is responsible for recognizing and rewarding talent, no matter the gender. Undoubtedly, this will be the best business decision they can make.