2012 presidential Mitt Romney's comments about "binders full of women" made headlines and drew laughs in the lead-up to the most recent election. But they also cast light on a very serious truth: that women are still underemployed, underrepresented and underpaid in many industries and sectors of employment.
Unequal pay is just one of many symptoms of employment discrimination on the basis of sex or gender stereotypes. Whether it's a conscious decision by management or a result of a company's history or culture, it is unfair to provide any class of employees with less pay for equal work.
Americans observed Equal Pay Day last week on Tuesday, April 9. That date was selected because, according to the current rate of income equality, April 9 is the date to which a woman would have to work to earn as much money as a male counterpart earned during 2012.
In addition to being paid less than their male colleagues, some women face additional challenges at work every day. They may be the targets of sexual harassment, or unwanted behavior of a sexual nature that makes them uncomfortable or contributes to a hostile work environment.
In addition, if a woman becomes pregnant - or even if her supervisor believes that she is pregnant - she may face pregnancy discrimination. Some employers are loathe to hire or keep pregnant employees because they believe they will have to be flexible about work hours and accommodate significant time off.
Female employees have basic rights in the workplace just like their male counterparts. State and federal laws exist to protect workers in New Jersey from harassment, discrimination and other illegal or inappropriate conduct at the hands of a supervisor or colleague.
Source: The Post Bulletin, "Women's wages still aren't keeping up with men's," April 2, 2013