Women still make only 77 cents to the dollar men earn in America. Worldwide, "women are paid 18 percent on average less than their male counterparts at work." This pay gap has persisted without change for a decade.
Efforts to fix this gap continue. This summer, the U.S. Department of Labor is offering new clear-cut guides for women and employers alike on how to comply with existing guidelines, as well as how to speak up or make changes if they observe an imbalance in compensation.
The new guides from the Labor Department's Women's Bureau, titled "A Guide to Women's Equal Pay Rights" and "An Employer's Guide to Equal Pay," were presented by Women's Bureau regional administrator Jacqueline Cook in Vermont last month at the Labor Department's Equal Pay Conference.
Each guide offers background information on why equal pay matters for families and fairness, a section on specific laws pertaining to equal pay and a list of resources. The guide for employees provides steps to take if discrimination is perceived or suspected, while the guide for employers offers steps for reviewing compensation practices to ensure equity.
The employee's report reads:
Women are legally entitled to equal employment opportunities, including the right to earn a paycheck that is free from unlawful bias, and, in many cases, the right to discuss their pay with colleagues.
At the conference, former Vermont Gov. Madeleine Kunin urged the full participation of men and women to change the culture of the workplace not just for equal pay, but also to ensure work-life balance for everyone.
"It's not a feminist issue exclusively, it's not a women's issue exclusively....What is so important at this point is that men join the parade."