Correcting economic harm caused by gender pay gap

Women throughout Arizona often unknowingly work for lower pay than men in the same or similar positions. This form of gender-based pay discrimination is known as the gender wage gap. Comparisons between female and male pay calculated by the Institute of Women's Policy Research show that women only make an average of 80.5 cents for every dollar that men earn. This means that women work 15 months to produce the same amount of income that men receive in 12 months.

The economic toll paid by society for this discrimination produces an enormous cost. According to the institute, equal pay for equal work would add over $512 billion annually to the U.S. economy. That would translate into women having a greater ability to pay bills, support families, buy homes, and retire comfortably.

The American Association of University Women is promoting an aggressive agenda to improve pay for women on multiple fronts. The organization has launched the Work Smart program, which has the goal of training 10 million women how to negotiate their salaries. On the legislative front, proposals in 42 states addressed the wage gap with prohibitions on employers asking about salary histories and public disclosure of salaries for various occupations. Government regulation like this would make it harder for employers to justify low pay and enable people to understand what they should be earning.

Unequal pay on the basis of gender is a form of workplace discrimination. A person who has been paid unfairly because of sex or who has been passed over for promotion could speak with a lawyer about the problem. A lawyer could gather evidence from payroll records and performance evaluations to build a lawsuit.

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