We’ve been talking a lot about gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace as of late, and for good reason. If you pay attention to the news at all, you’ve likely heard stories of men in positions of power abusing and exploiting women (especially in Hollywood). The Harvey Weinstein case last October ripped the bandaid off and now we are hearing harrowing stories of women persevering and moving forward after being discriminated against, harassed, and abused. This brings us to the question of equal opportunity and if it is legal for women to be paid less than men.
Understanding Gender Inequality in America
Many Hollywood women who have come forward over the last six to eight months have spoken out about the lack of equality in the pay structure of the movie business, but this isn’t the only industry where we are seeing a disparity. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPC), women make just 80 centers for every dollar earned by men, which is a shocking 20 percent wage gap. On average, women make less than many in virtually every single occupation. This study uncovered countless cases of discrimination in pay, hiring, and promotions based on gender.
An interesting chart from IWPC looks at the projected year when the wage gap will close between men and women by state. The organization predicts Florida will be the first to close the gap, but not until 2038. Wyoming is last on the list; anticipated to lose the wage gap in 2153. These findings simply solidify what we already know – women are at a constant disadvantage in the workforce and are neglected their basic right to equal pay. So the question now is: is it illegal for women to be paid less than men? Unfortunately, the answer is no in the United States.
Fighting Back Against Gender Discrimination
As more attention is given to this wage gap problem, we are seeing changes being implemented across many different industries. Hollywood, for one, is making an effort (in some capacities) to finally pay women what they are giving men, but this is just the beginning. On a positive note, Iceland became the first country in the world to make it illegal to pay men more than women. As of January 1, 2018, men can no longer make more than women in the same profession. The new legislation states that companies and government agencies with more than 25 employees must receive a government certification for equal pay policies. If it is found that a company is paying a man more than a woman, they will face substantial fines.
With what’s currently going on in the United States, we can all look to Iceland for inspiration. Gender pay inequality and discrimination are a very real problem in our country right now, and it is time we stand together and do something about it. If you have been discriminated against in the workplace or would like to learn more about your rights, please contact Janovsky & Associates today. Our Frisco labor and employment lawyers will fight for your rights and help ensure justice is served.