Some San Antonio residents may be aware that Equal Pay Day was celebrated earlier this week. Equal Pay Day is commemorated annually to call attention to the wage gap that still exists between men and women in the U.S. The Equal Pay Act outlawed pay discrimination 50 years ago, but according to a recent study by the National Partnership for Women & Families, women still only earn about 77 cents on the dollar compared to men.
In Texas, women are treated a bit better. Statewide, women who are employed full-time make an average of 82 cents for every dollar men earn. Here in San Antonio, things are better still at 85 cents. However, this wage gap is still significant--unequal pay is costing women in San Antonio a total of about $2 billion annually.
When people think about the wage gap, they often assume this persists because more women work in lower wage jobs. However, studies show that women actually earn significantly less money than men when factors such as occupation are controlled.
The Equal Pay Act requires that women and men who work for the same employer, in similar roles, with similar skills and responsibilities, must be paid equally. There are exceptions when things such as merit or seniority-based raises are considered.
It is good to see that Texas and San Antonio are above the average when it comes to providing women with equal pay for equal work. However, it is disappointing that things are still not completely equal 50 years after the Equal Pay Act was implemented.
Women who think that they are being paid less than their male counterparts should be aware that it is illegal for their employer to retaliate against them for filing a complaint. However, that is not to say employers will not do so anyway. In order to hold your employer accountable for treating women unfairly in the workplace, it may be necessary to seek legal representation.
Source: San Antonio Business Journal, "Unequal pay costing San Antonio women nearly $2 billion a year," Tricia Lynn Silva, April 8, 2013
Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "EEOC Chair Issues Statement on Equal Pay Day 2013," April 9, 2013