Women still fighting unfair wages

A new report by the American Association of University Women reveals that not much has improved for women in the workforce despite an outcry for change. Pay ratios between men and women in comparable jobs have narrowed only a negligible amount since 2000, meaning men as a whole earn about $500 billion more than women. Even with declining unemployment, the gap between gender salaries has not closed, and not all states have strong laws protecting women from unfair wages.

Tennessee ranked 19th in the country, with women earning 82 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is slightly above the national average of 80, but state laws against wage gaps are weak. Women of color seem to face a particularly difficult time obtaining a fair and equal wage, and older women have an additional struggle. The most glaring wage gaps appear in industries such as finance and accounting, retail supervisors and the medical field.

Nurses and teachers seem to have the lowest pay gap between men and women although women in these jobs still make only 92 percent of what men earn. Retail supervisors have the largest pay gap despite that the retail industry employs more women than most other industries. The level of education a woman has does not seem to make a difference, according to the statistics the AAUW compiled from various sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau.

Gaps in pay based on gender is discrimination. Employers must hire workers and pay them based on their qualifications and skills. Paying unfair wages is a violation of federal law, and those in Tennessee who are victims of these violations have the right to seek redress through the courts.

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