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Wage inequality continues to be a major national problem

Johnson City Press • May 8, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Data from the U.S. Census show that for the first time in U.S. history, women have surpassed men when it comes to earning advanced college degrees. But it’s not all good news for women on this Mother’s Day.

The bad news is women — including working mothers who hold bachelor’s degrees — are not being rewarded the same as men are in the workplace. In general, women who work full time, year-round make 79 cents for every dollar men earn. This pay gap has improved some since 1980, when women were paid 60 cents for every $1 men were paid for doing the same job.

The income gap is greater when college-educated men and women are compared to each other. According to the American Association of University Women, a college-educated woman working full time in Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District is paid $29,439 a year compared to the $36,937 a male with similar work experience and a college degree earns. That represents an earnings ratio of 79.7 percent.

Another survey conducted by the National Association for Female Executives found professional women in finance, securities and commodities services earn 56 cents for every $1 men are paid doing the same work.

Some analysts believe such surveys can be misleading if they fail to compare men and women based on equal work, equal training, equal education or equal tenure. Perhaps, but it’s hard not to suspect these pay disparities are institutionally embedded in an 18th century perception of the proper roles of men and women.

End these prejudices and many of the pay disparities that women face every day will also go away.

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