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Pennsylvania pay disparity worse than national average

It has been 50 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed by recent statistics show that women still haven't achieved parity in their paychecks. According to numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this week, women still only make 82 cents for every one dollar that men are paid. In Pennsylvania the wage gap is slightly larger, with women making only 81.6 cents for each dollar than men are paid.

While these numbers do reflect a gradual narrowing of the wage gap, it is still disheartening to many that women do not earn equal pay for equal work. Pennsylvania is also making progress to meet the national average and has made modest gains since a 1997 survey showed the wage gap in this state at 72 cents per dollar compared with a national average of 74 cents per dollar.

The modest improvement is gone when experts examine that average annual earnings of women, which are still only 77.4 percent of what men make. When the Equal Pay Act passed in 1963 women were making 58.9 percent of what men were.

The Equal Pay Act was supposed to require employers to pay similarly qualified women performing the same job duties equally with their male counterparts. However, the statistics show that wage discrimination is still alive and well in Pennsylvania and that women here are not earning equal pay for the work that they do. This may be pervasive but it is still not legal.

Women who believe that they are being paid less than male colleagues for the same job should know that they have a right to pursue fair pay under this law.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "50 years later, women are still paid less," Ann Belser, Jan. 23, 2013.

Information about demanding equal pay for equal work is available on our Pennsylvania employment rights page.

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