Gender pay gap: dollars don’t make ‘sense’

It has come to my attention that there are many women who don’t know about or care about the huge pay gap that has existed for as long as people have been working, and hasn’t made any leaps of improvement for a decade.

Ladies, if you are employed in a private sector job, you and your brother, male friend, boyfriend, or husband could be receiving very different paychecks. News flash: you’re most likely drawing the short stick.

Data collected by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in 2014 reported that the ratio of female-to-male weekly earnings was 82.5 percent. And the higher up the income ladder, the bigger the gap, resulting in most women typically earning about 78 cents to a man’s dollar.

A brutal combination of corporate traditions and differing company  policies are resulting in a serious detriment to women’s financial success.

Unfortunately, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would extend pay equity to the whole of the American work force, has been blocked repeatedly by Congress in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2016 Presidential Election, has said that equal pay for equal work has been the law for decades, despite also agreeing that women do face hurdles in the workplace.

Cruz has also claimed that President Obama’s executive order banning salary secrecy for federal contractors has distracted from more important issues for women.

While it is true that there is practically a smorgasbord of women’s issues to pick and choose from even today, It is not right to let this one get brushed under the table just because the majority of male congressmen don’t seem to consider it an issue.

It’s time to buckle down and start sparing a couple thoughts for the pay gap. Pretending that it isn’t a downright ancient manifestation of gender discrimination rearing its ugly head through the tides of private sector wages is just plain ignorant.

Somewhere out there, there may well be a brilliant, hard working young woman who is being swindled out of her well-earned paycheck while the men of her rank are being overcompensated for no reason other than their gender. She cannot know that she makes less due to unjust pay secrecy policies, and if she doesn’t know she’s being cheated, she can’t fight it.

The fact that this situation may not affect you personally is irrelevant at this point. If obstructionism and laziness continue to have their way, that working woman could be your future daughter, friend or family member.

According to the Pew Research Center, a record 40 percent of women are the breadwinners of the modern home. If women are to be treated with equal respect, we must also ensure a fair, equal compensation for an increasingly female work force.

Get informed. Get angry. Nobody who shrugs their shoulders at discrimination should be surprised when Congress does the same.

I urge you to research the views of the upcoming candidates for the 2016 election, and see where they stand on this issue. Email and write letters to your local senators. Share your personal stories of private sector compensation trickery.

Ignorance may be bliss, but in most cases, it also may as well be stupidity.