“Give Women A Fair Pay Day”

Think your salary is fair & equitable? Responses might just depend on your gender:

"We’re coming up on Equal Pay Day again. That’s the day in April every year—this year the 24th—when women’s earnings finally catch up with what men made by December 31 of the previous year. Women’s groups, led by the National Committee on Pay Equity, will rally on Capitol Hill to call attention to the issue.

"The pay gap is still a stubborn problem, with women who work full time, year-round making 76 cents to a man’s dollar. Though it consistently polls number one with female voters in election years, politicians don’t seem motivated to do much about it.

"Some people say pay disparities between women and men are an illusion—women just like to choose jobs that pay less because they’re not as risky or have shorter hours. But the data don’t back up these claims [PDF]. Even when researchers take into account such factors as part-time work or time out of the work force to care for kids, the numbers show that men make more. Another problem that just won’t go away is that so-called ‘men’s jobs’ like plumbing, pay more than ‘women’s jobs,’ like nursing. That tells us something about what we value as a society, and it’s not women’s work."

Author Martha Burk is a political psychologist and director of the Corporate Acountability Project for the National Council of Women’s Organizations.