My first article for Psyched Magazine! It is a personal piece that I hope interests and resonates with others.
Since I started this blog in December 2012, I have annually written about pay equity during April for Pay Equity Day (2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016). That day is today. As in past years, Ni-Ta-Nee NOW, the local chapter of the National Organization for Women, will be distributing flyers educating the public about the economic inequality in women’s pay. We’re letting people know that we continue to have a lack of progress in eliminating pay inequity. Here’s the information we would like the public to know.
April 4, 2017
This date symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work, on average, to earn as much as a man earned the previous year according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. FYI, This is eight days less than 2016, ten days less than 2015, four days less than 2014, eleven days less than in 2013 and thirteen days less than in 2011 when Ni-Ta-Nee NOW started tracking this date! Tuesday, April 4, 2017, is the day on which women’s wages overall catch up with men’s earnings from the previous year. It is also the day when white women’s wages catch up with men’s wages. But most women of color take much longer to achieve equity.
The Wage Gap
The commonly used measure to determine the pay gap is the ratio of women’s to men’s median annual earnings for full-time, full-year workers. Based on these earnings, women as a whole earned just 8 percent of what men earned in 2015 (AAUW, 2017). Between 2006 and 2015 the weekly gender wage gap narrowed by just 0.3 percentage points, compared with 6.0 percentage points in the previous ten years (1996 to 2005). At the current rate, it will be 2059 before women achieve wage parity. This lack of progress needs to be overturned!
Nationally, Asian American women have the smallest wage gap, earning 85 percent of what the average white man earned in 2012. White, non-Hispanic women are next, earning approximately 75 percent of white men’s average income, African-American women earn 63 percent, Pacific Islander women earn 60 percent, Native American women earn 58%, and Hispanic women earn just 54 percent of wages as compared to white men (AAUW, 2017).
A woman who is just starting her career now will earn $418,800 less than her male counterpart over the course of a 40-year career. For Asian-American women, it’s $387,640; for white, non-Hispanic women, it’s $462,000; for African-American women, it’s $657,680, for Native American Women, it’s $789,120, and for Hispanic women, it’s $899,400. (NWLC, 2017).
Differences in the wage gap are due more than just the types of jobs men and women work. Part of the problem is due to gendered, sex-segregated jobs where women are paid less. This disparity is partly due to the minimum wages often paid to women and for jobs that require the same level of skills, knowledge & abilities but for which women are paid less. Other reasons for this pay gap include the lack of paid sick days and family leave, unfair scheduling practices, and lack of pay transparency protections in these female-dominated occupations (Center for American Progress, 2015).
Wage Gap in Pennsylvania
The pay gap is even worse in our state. When ranked among the other 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania’s wage gap placed it 27th (tied with AR, IL, NE, TX, and WA) among the states (AAUW, 2017). The median annual income for a woman working full-time, year-round in Pennsylvania in 2015 was $40,742 compared to men’s $51,212 or 80% of what a man earns. This disparity results in a wage gap of 20%.
Centre County is part of Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District (CD). Women in the 5thCD earned $33,325 compared to the $45,385 that men make or 73.4% of what a man makes. We rank 15 out of 18 in the state in terms of the wage gap. This disparity results in a wage gap of 26.6%. Philadelphia’s 1st CD fares better than the rest of the state, with a difference of just 11.3% (AAUW, 2017).
A woman who is just starting her career now will earn $430,480 less than her male counterpart over the course of a 40-year career. For Asian-American women, it’s $387,640; for white, non-Hispanic women, it’s $462,000; for African-Americans, it’s $657,680; for Native American women, it’s $789,120; & for Hispanic women, it’s $899,400 (NWLC, 2017).
What Can You Or I Do About this Inequity?
If You are an Employer
If you are an employer, you can get help in examining pay practices by conducting an equal pay self-audit using the guidelines from the US Department of Labor (available at www.pay-equity.org/cando-audit.html).
If You Believe You Are Experiencing Wage-Based Discrimination
Tell your employer if you see or think that you are being paid less than your male co-workers. Click here for some tips on negotiating for pay equity.
If there’s a union at your place of work, ask for their help.
If discrimination persists: There are three places to file complaints – at the federal level, at the state level, and at the local level.
At the Federal Level
You can file under federal law with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Go to this link and follow the instructions.
At the State Level
You can find your state’s anti-discrimination agency website and contact information through the Job Accommodations Network, a free service of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. Most of the agencies have a website address that you can copy and paste into your browser. All of the agencies have a phone number that you can call for assistance.
If you live in Pennsylvania, you can file a complaint with the PA Human Relations Commission in Harrisburg. Contact information is available by region. Just go to their website and look for your county’s name. The phone number and address for your regional office is listed directly above the names of the counties served by each office.
At the Local Level
You should also check to see if your local county, city, or community has an ordinance providing similar protections for wage-based discrimination. You can also file under federal law with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
There are a few communities throughout the country that have created local ordinances that include the state-based anti-discrimination protections and have also expanded coverage to other areas (such as protections based on sexual orientation, family status, and family responsibilities across the lifespan). If so, you can more conveniently file a wage-based complaint at the local level. Check with your state’s anti-discrimination agency to see if there is a local ordinance in your community.
In Pennsylvania, there are about 30 cities and municipalities with such an ordinance. Your regional office of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission can give you this information, along with whom to contact. Check with your state’s anti-discrimination office if you live in another state to determine if your state allows such local ordinances and if such a law exists in your community.
You Can Also Advocate for Changes in the Law
There are bills before Congress and in state legislatures that deal with some of the issues affecting wage inequity. If you want to advocate at the federal level, you can find your US Representative and your US Senators’ contact information at https://www.congress.gov/members. To locate the contact information for your state legislators, go to http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/ and fill in your mailing address and hit the “locate” button; your legislators’ picture, addresses, and phone and fax numbers can be found when you click on her/his name. It some cases, this website will also provide a list of bills your legislator has sponsored so that you can see if one or more of them support pay equity.
Here are the issues you for which you should consider advocating. Since I live in Pennsylvania, I’m listing both Federal and Pennsylvania-specific bills. For bills specific to your state, check out the National Conference of State Legislatures website to find and go to your state’s website. You will then be able to search for the bills on pay equity, paycheck fairness, minimum wage, sick leave, etc. to see if there is a bill or law in your state addressing these issues. If not, then contact your legislators/public officials and ask them to sponsor such bills.
Raise both the regular and the tipped minimum wages.
At the federal level, there is currently one bill addressing this issue. It is HR 122 — The Original Living Wage Act of 2017. It was introduced by Rep. Al Green (D-TX-9). There are currently seven additional co-sponsors: Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD-7), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-At Large), Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI-4), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA-5), Rep. Hakeem S. Jeffries (D-NY-8), and Rep. Marc A. Veasey (D-TX-33). For this bill to move, MANY more co-sponsors are needed and your representatives need to hear from you.
In Pennsylvania, there are two bills —SB 12 — Raising the Minimum Wage and Modernizing the Minimum Wage Act & SB 163 —Raising the Tipped Wage Act.
Many states and local communities have either increased the minimum and tipped wages or have bills in the hopper on this issue. According to the Raise the Minimum Wage website, “As a result of Congressional gridlock and growing income inequality, a record number of states are taking action to raise their wage floors above the federal [level]. Twenty-nine states, plus the District of Columbia, have set their minimum wage above $7.25/hour, including two which have raised it to $15 (California and New York). And in several other states, advocates are actively promoting an increase in the wage floor to at least $12. For more information on these types of bills, check out the Raise the Minimum Wage website for their listing of state-level initiatives.
Pass paid sick leave legislation.
At the federal level, check out HR 1022 and S 362 — the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2017. Note these bills only affect federal employee sick leave. So to create paid sick leave for the rest of us, we’ll need to look to the states and local municipalities for this form of legislation.
In some states, this type of legislation can also be enacted at the municipal level. Currently, four states (Connecticut in 2011, California in 2013, Massachusetts in 2014, and Oregon in 2015) and the District of Columbia (2008), as well as 18 cities and communities, have implemented paid sick leave. These 18 cities (with the year of passage noted) are:
- California: San Francisco (2006), Oakland (2014), and Emeryville (2015), Los Angeles and San Diego (both in 2016)
- Maryland: Montgomery County (2015)
- New Jersey: Jersey City (2013), Newark, Passaic, Paterson, East Orange, Irvington, Montclair, Trenton (all in 2014), Bloomfield (2015), New Brunswick, Elizabeth, and Plainfield (all in 2016)
- New York: New York City (2013)
- Oregon: Portland (2013)
- Pennsylvania: Philadelphia (2015) and Pittsburgh (2015). Note however that Pittsburgh’s paid sick leave ordinance was ruled as invalid by a county-level judge in early 2016 and is currently on appeal to the state’s Supreme Court.
- Washington: Seattle (2011) and Tacoma (2015)
Create laws that make payment of wages fairer by eliminating pay secrecy rules & pay discrimination.
Types of paycheck fairness rules include limiting occupational requirements to bona fide occupational factors like education, skills, and experience, prohibiting employer retaliation against employees who discuss their salaries and denies employers the ability to require employees to sign a contract or waiver prohibiting them from disclosing information about the employee’s wages. The federal bills that have focused on this issue entitled the Paycheck Fairness Act; this bill has yet to be introduced in either the US House or Senate so far this year. The National Women’s Law Center has several good articles on paycheck fairness, including why women need more wage protections and information on how the Paycheck Fairness Act strengthens the Equal Pay Act. Take a look at these articles and then contact your US Senator(s) and your US Representative if you believe they might be willing to take the lead on this bill. FYI, the past prime sponsors of this bill that are still in Congress are Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3).
Stand up. Fight back.
So, on this Equal Pay Day, get going! Follow the lead of the millions of women and their allies who participated in the Women’s Marches on January 21, 2017. Stand up! Fight back! Call on your legislators at all levels to work towards pay equity. Tell your employer/union that you want and expect fair pay. And reach out to others of like mind. This pull for equal pay will be a long haul effort. But we can eventually make it happen. Let’s do it!.
I participated in the march on Denver on January 21, 2017. Between 200,000 and 300,000 people were walking for democracy in Denver; we joined several million men, women, and children around the world who are standing up and fighting back for our rights and for our democracy. Here are three pictures I took while in Denver for the March.
And here’s another perspective on the Women’s Marches around the world from a fellow blogger.
I couldn’t stop laughing! A poll shows that Republican males believe that their lives are harder than those of women. Men make more money for the same work, have a far less chance of rape, don’t have their reproductive rights attacked, and do far more housework than men while holding a full-time job, but white men are the “low people on the totem pole” and “everybody else is above the white man,” according to an 81-year-old retired police captain. He complained that “everything in general is in favor of a woman. No matter what happens in life, it seems like the man’s always at fault.”
In this survey taken after the election, only 41 percent of GOP men think now is a good time to be a man. Although one-third of women feel unsafe because of their gender, only 20 percent of men understand that women feel this way. Thirty percent of women…
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Turning Point USA is a right-wing organization that is much like McCarthy’s red-baiting back in the 1950’s. Their creation of a Professors Watchlist is a form of intimidation. The final paragraph in this blog clearly expresses why faculty, students, and the larger community must resist such attempts at censorship :
“The Professor Watchlist obscures and attacks the core of the university. It uses false transparency to intimidate and shame us into acquiescence. We can broker no compromise with such people. They are fundamentally anti-American. When freedom of thought, inquiry, and speech thrive at universities so does democracy and American life.”
Tomorrow, my friend, colleague, and Bernie Sanders supporter Sophia McClennen and I will be on FREQ’s The Morning Mixtape hosted by Jason Crane to talk about the Professor Watchlist. Here are my thoughts (with reference to McClennen’s) on the matter.
In the last few weeks, the Professor Watchlist and its founding group, Turning Point USA have surfaced to set us “free.” While this group of ideological purists allege that they are concerned with American well-being, we can be sure they are anything but. Professors, they promise, are promoting radical ideas and the public needs to be alerted. These far right would-be censors, though, have simply reopened a long-standing battlefront by the culturally regressive armies of the night. A thriving democracy cannot and must not tolerate it.
The list’s founder, Charlie Kirk, is quoted in The New York Times as saying there are many professors who are “advance[ing] a radical agenda in lecture…
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Thanks Peter for this great letter to the President of Penn State University and for standing up for civil rights and civil discourse in our community.
Dear President Barron,
During these contentious times, I’m going to ask you to something that requires courage. We need you to show us that “We are…all in” by taking a stronger stance for love and against division and hatred. I know you have it in you as you stood with your hands up to stand for the lives of our black brothers and sisters. Will you do it again?
The election of Donald Trump has unleashed powerful forces of bigotry in our country and the adulation of ignorance. Already at our campus, students are being threatened and harassed. A young Muslim woman was found curled up in a stall. A young man donning a Donald Trump mask entered a class and shouted racial epithets at students. One of my students is dropping out of school because of worries for her family. Across the nation the Swastika is being openly used…
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Just received this email from a NOW friend. Please READ. Several NOW members have signed the petition – that decision is up to you, but the content of this post is important, so please READ:
“I am not advocating that you sign the petition, but reading these comments filled me … again… with fear, resolve, and determination. I go around humming the song “I will survive,” and then segue to “I am woman.” Then go back to bed or have a glass of wine or send all of you more emails. Love and strength and thanks that you’re out there persevering.” pat
Please read this entire e-mail, consider the extreme importance of acting now, and sign the following White House petition: https://wh.gov/ie80r
Feel free to forward to any and all social/professional networks and post on social media.
Over the last few days, the following transpired:
- 1. Donald Trump…
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Did you know that there are very few National Landmark, National Monument, National Park or other official recognitions of the accomplishments of women? According to the list gathered by Wikipedia, the National Park Service has 11 national parks and 47 national landmarks recognizing specific women. An additional 53 sites include information on one or more women’s contributions to our history. That is out of a total of 413 sites managed by the Park Service – national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House. That means that just under one-quarter of all of the parks recognize women in general and just 14% focus on the accomplishments of a specific woman.
We can do better. And there’s a chance right now for you to make this happen. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is lobbying the National Park Service to designate Rev. Pauli Murray’s childhood home in Durham, North Carolina as a National Landmark.
Who was she? Born in 1910 and died in 1986, Murray was a
- Civil Rights Activist from the 1930’s to the end of her life. She worked with Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights Movement but became critical of the male domination of the leadership within the movement. She first expressed this frustration in 1963 in a letter to Randolph, saying, “[I’ve] “been increasingly perturbed over the blatant disparity between the major role which Negro women have played and are playing in the crucial grass-roots levels of our struggle and the minor role of leadership they have been assigned in the national policy-making decisions.” Three years later, she became one of the founding members of the National Organization for Women.
- Life-long friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. One author has called Murray Eleanor Roosevelt’s “Beloved Radical.” In 1952, for example, Murray lost a position at Cornell University’s Law School because her three references – Eleanor Roosevelt, Thurgood Marshall, and Philip Randolph – were considered to be too radical and by inference, so was she.
- Writer. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall described her 1951 book States’ Laws on Race and Color as the “Bible for civil rights lawyers.”
- Priest. In fact, she was the first African-American woman to become a priest. That was in 1977.
If you want to join the National Trust and help get the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice designated as National Landmark honoring Pauli Murray, please sign this petition before Tuesday, October 18, 2016. That’s the day the National Park Service meets and is likely to make this decision.
This Saturday, more than 30 cities across the country, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, are hosting events as part of All Access, a series of concerts and conversations about unequal access to abortion in America.
This is the deal: Women’s healthcare is in a preventable crisis in the United States. In the last five years, hundreds of abortion bans have been passed into law depriving women all over the country, including in Pennsylvania, of access to healthcare. In short, since anti-choice activists can’t legally criminalize abortion outright, they’re focused on proposing laws that discriminate against low-income women by installing financial and logistical barriers to abortion access.
Equality is not possible without equal access to the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare, including abortion. Racial justice and economic security are not possible without reproductive freedom.
Please join us this Saturday in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh as we rock for abortion access.
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Poetry. How a Bernie Sanders supporter came atound to supporting Hilary Clinton for President of the United States.
The very first time I heard Bernie Sanders speak, I knew who he was
knew the energy he was representing
knew that he was being fed from the same wellspring of evolving consciousness by which so many of us have been being fed lately on this planet.
This wellspring offers the energy of community
It offers the energy of equality
It offers the energy of love.
In a civilization that values profit about all else
this energy becomes revolutionary
but it is not by nature.
By nature, this energy is evolutionary.
There is only so long that we can continue to stumble blindly upon the Earth
eating her up faster than she can feed us
and creating so much suffering for ourselves, our kin in the community of life, and our future generations.
So it is not only unsurprising,
but also necessary
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