Today, Tuesday, April 12, is this year’s Equal Pay Day. It’s the day into the new year when a woman finally has earned the same amount of money a man made last year. Even in 2016, women have to work an extra 100 days to reach pay parity with men.
Why are we still struggling with this issue?
There are laws in the U.S. against pay disparity. But laws are only as effective as the people who are willing to stand up and invoke them.
Women who have achieved significant career advancement are often afraid to rail against the system that got them where they are. Women at the lower levels of income or advancement are often afraid of losing the income that they have. And, men have too often seen the issue as a “women’s issue.”
There are a lot of articles and blogs out there telling women what we need to do to reach pay parity. And, I agree with a lot of the advice out there, but we need to be talking more about how the issue affects men.
The issue affects everyone. In fact, men should probably be the most concerned about this issue. If women continue to do more work for less pay, the result will eventually be that wages for men are pushed down. Let’s be realistic about this. Employers aren’t looking to increase wages and spend more dollars. If a qualified woman is willing to do an equal or better job at a lower cost, what is the likely business outcome?
Men need to start realizing that equal pay might be a bigger threat to them than for women. Women have been dealing with the issue throughout history. It only now lurks as a threat to men.
Smart men will stand up for this issue while they can still tell themselves it’s a “women’s issue.”