President Obama urges CEOs to pay women fairer at 50th anniversary of Equal Pay Act

Speaking at the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act on Monday at the White House, President Obama stood before a backdrop of smiling women and urged CEOs in the United States to treat women fairer and equally, especially when it comes to wages.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law by President Kennedy and was aimed that eliminating wage discrepancies between genders. The legislation essentially prohibited employers from discriminating their employees based on sex. Fifty years later, it is argued that women are still being discriminated against in the workplace.

President Obama explained in his prepared remarks that women used to earn 59 cents an hour when the bill was passed and now they earn 77 cents – but, according to the president, it’s less for black and Latin women.

“You wouldn’t like it if you were forced to work every fourth day without pay. Men would be complaining about that. They wouldn’t think that was equal or fair,” said Obama. ”So this is the 21st century.  It’s time to close that gap.”

During his time in office, the president signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, established the White House Council on Women and Girls, created the National Equal Pay Task Force and urged the Congress to approve the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Although the intentions are considered to be noble, his own White House has been failing on paying women as equal to the men. According to the Washington Free Beacon, women earned a median salary 18 percent less than men in 2011 – this trend also extends back to the days when Obama was an Illinois Senator in 2008. The president didn’t touch upon this at the media conference, but he did confirm that there was more work to be done to address the wage gap.

“Now is the time to make sure businesses offer men and women the flexibility to be good employees and good parents,” the president explained. “CEOs who are out there, if you want a first-class company that is tapping into the talents and resources of all your employees, make sure that you’re putting in place systems so that they all feel like they’re being treated fairly and equally.  It’s a simple principle and it’s a powerful one.”

For many years, the issue of a gender-based wage gap has been analyzed quite frequently and many conservative and libertarian economists and statisticians argue that women receiving lower wages and salaries isn’t based on discrimination but rather other variables, such as the occupations they choose, how long they have been out of the workforce, educational levels and even down to their marital status (single women and never married women).

Research has suggested that women tend to work in industries that have better flexibility schedules, while women were more likely to spend a considerable amount of time out of the workforce to look after children. In the end, these choices play significant factors in their wage levels for both men and women. When economists and statisticians impose these factors in their research then the gender gap becomes eviscerated.

Economist Thomas Sowell has written and spoken extensively on the topic. In the video clip below, Sowell spoke with host William F. Buckley Jr. in the 1981 television show “Firing Line.” In the interview, he cited data which showed women who worked the exact same amount of years with the exact same education in their line of work are actually making more money each year than their male counterparts.

“When you compare women and men in the same occupations with the same skills, education, hours of work, and many other factors that go into determining pay, the differences in incomes shrink to the vanishing point – and, in some cases, the women earn more than comparable men,” Sowell wrote in a column last year.

This Economic Collapse News blog post is also helpful in the matter.

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Comments

  1. Probably most women’s pay-equity advocates think employers are greedy profiteers who’d hire only illegal immigrants for their lower labor cost if they could get away with it. Or move their business to a cheap-labor country to save money. Or replace older workers with younger ones for the same reason. So why do these same advocates think employers would NOT hire only women if, as they say, employers DO get away with paying females at a lower rate than males for the same work?

    Here’s one of countless examples showing that some of the most sophisticated women in the country choose to earn less while getting paid at the same rate as their male counterparts:

    “In 2011, 22% of male physicians and 44% of female physicians worked less than full time, up from 7% of men and 29% of women from Cejka’s 2005 survey.” ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/03/26/bil10326.htm

    A thousand laws won’t close that gap.

    In fact, no law yet has closed the gender wage gap — not the 1963 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, not Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, not the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, not affirmative action (which has benefited mostly white women, the group most vocal about the wage gap – tinyurl.com/74cooen), not the 1991 amendments to Title VII, not the 1991 Glass Ceiling Commission created by the Civil Rights Act, not the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, not diversity, not the countless state and local laws and regulations, not the thousands of company mentors for women, not the horde of overseers at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and not the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which is another feel-good bill that turned into another do-nothing law (good intentions do not necessarily make things better; sometimes, the path to a worse condition is paved with good intentions)…. Nor will a “paycheck fairness” law work.

    That’s because women’s pay-equity advocates, who always insist one more law is needed, continue to overlook the effects of female AND male behavior:

    Despite the 40-year-old demand for women’s equal pay, millions of wives still choose to have no pay at all. In fact, according to Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of “The Secrets of Happily Married Women,” stay-at-home wives, including the childless who represent an estimated 10 percent, constitute a growing niche. “In the past few years,” he says in a CNN report at tinyurl.com/6reowj, “many women who are well educated and trained for career tracks have decided instead to stay at home.” (“Census Bureau data show that 5.6 million mothers stayed home with their children in 2005, about 1.2 million more than did so a decade earlier….” at tinyurl.com/qqkaka. If indeed a higher percentage of women is staying at home, perhaps it’s because feminists and the media have told women for years that female workers are paid less than men in the same jobs — so why bother working if they’re going to be penalized and humiliated for being a woman.)

    As full-time mothers or homemakers, stay-at-home wives earn zero. How can they afford to do this while in many cases living in luxury? Answer: Because they’re supported by their husband, an “employer” who pays them to stay at home. (Far more wives are supported by a spouse than are husbands.)

    The implication of this is probably obvious to most 12-year-olds but seems incomprehensible to, or is wrongly dismissed as irrelevant by, feminists and the liberal media: If millions of wives are able to accept NO wages, millions of other wives, whose husbands’ incomes vary, are more often able than husbands to:

    -accept low wages
    -refuse overtime and promotions
    -choose jobs based on interest first, wages second — the reverse of what men tend to do
    -take more unpaid days off
    -avoid uncomfortable wage-bargaining (tinyurl.com/3a5nlay)
    -work fewer hours than their male counterparts, or work less than full-time instead of full-time (as in the above example regarding physicians)

    Any one of these job choices lowers women’s median pay relative to men’s. And when a wife makes one of the choices, her husband often must take up the slack, thereby increasing HIS pay.

    Women who make these choices are generally able to do so because they are supported — or, if unmarried, anticipate being supported — by a husband who feels pressured to earn more than if he’d chosen never to marry. (Married men earn more than single men, but even many men who shun marriage, unlike their female counterparts, feel their self worth is tied to their net worth.) This is how MEN help create the wage gap: as a group they tend more than women to pass up jobs that interest them for ones that pay well.

    More in “Will the Ledbetter Act Help Women?” at malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/will-the-ledbetter-fair-pay-act-help-women/

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