Could Pay Disparities Ever Become an Issue of the Past?

If you have ever been curious about whether or not your salary is the same, less, or more than your co-worker who performs the same job duties as your own, you are not alone. In fact, pay inequality is still a huge issue in America with women—especially minority women—experiencing the greatest disparities in wages and benefits. In light of this pay disparity, the federal government is taking the necessary steps to mitigate this long standing wage gap issue.

Indeed, as of Friday, 29 January 2016, President Barack Obama announced an executive action that would mandate companies with over 100 employees or more to report to the federal government how much they pay their employees broken down by race, gender, and ethnicity ( In 2009, President Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which allows employees to file lawsuits concerning equal pay for up to six months after a discriminatory paycheck. President Obama’s latest legislation—the Paycheck Fairness Act—concurs with the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and is being simultaneously published by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Labor (

In 2016, Caucasian women are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to men on average, while African-American and Hispanic women earn only 64 cents and 55 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to men on average. For women, the gender pay gap reduces the amount of lifetime earnings and also affects their pensions, which is a substantial reason for the impoverishment of women in their later lives (Gender Pay Gap and the Struggle for Equal Pay). Furthermore, unequal pay based on gender is problematic because women who work full-time, year round in the United States earn $10,876 less per year in median earnings—an economic imbalance for women and their families.

On Friday, 5 February 2016, President will call on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. If passed, the Paycheck Fairness Act will establish an essential foundation for progress toward realizing equal pay, as well as encouraging and fostering greater voluntary compliance by employers with existing federal pay laws, including the evaluation of how they are currently paying their employees (

Although research explains there has been a lack of progress in closing the pay gap due to the fact that neither men nor women have seen a meaningful increase in median earnings since 2009, unequal pay in the workplace is unacceptable. If employers truly want to level the playing field, being more transparent about pay and compensation is necessary to acknowledge this longstanding issue. The infographic below provides an analysis about why the Paycheck Fairness act is so important for advancing equality in the workplace.

The Paycheck Fairness Act can be seen as a pragmatic measure to ensure that women are paid the same amount as their male counterparts. For now, the federal government is taking steps in the right direction to eliminate the gender pay gap, but for now, the private sector can do its part by disclosing their gender pay gaps as an initial effort to close them.