#Human Rights
United States Congress
United States of America

March 15, 2006

• In 1987, the Center for Creative Leadership concluded that women as a group are kept from advancing not because of their individual abilities but because they are women.

• Some people think the glass ceiling from 1987 still exists, others think it has been shattered, and yet others think it is more a plastic ceiling; that you can never really break through, as in being taken seriously, but you can advance.

• Female athletes don't sign the multi-million dollar contracts men do,

• In American factories in the 19th century, men got paid $3 and women got paid $1 a week for the same hours.

• On March 7th, 1860, women workers at a shoe factory in Lynn, Massachusetts, went on strike, and wages rose that April.

• NOW (National Organization of Women) was formed in 1960, one of its goals being equal pay for the same job.

• In 1964, congress passed a civil rights amendment originally intended to gain the equality of black people.

o A senator from Virginia added "sex" to race, color and religion so it would look ridiculous and not pass.

o This addition was what made it pass, and under the amendment came the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

• Many employers exercise "tokenism." This is when an employer will hire women (etc.), in a number that the hiring of them is merely symbolic. This creates on-the-surface, but not true, integration.

• Where tokenism or integration isn't present, women mainly work in pink-collar ghettos.

o In service occupations, 7 million men and 10 million women.

o In elementary and high schools, 1.5 million men and 3.5 million women.
o As doctors, 715,000 men and 245,000 women, yet as nurses and lab technicians, 403,000 men and 2.4 million women.

• In 1997, Patty Abramson founded the Women's Growth Capital Fund to help women start their own business. However, out of 1,200 high risk business loans, only 30 were owned by women.

• Women seeking executive jobs know that companies like Reebok (executives are 44% women) will be the best to join.

• Out of 830 executives in the fortune 500 companies, 5 are women.

• The glass ceiling keeps women in pink-collar ghettos too. It affects women in non-traditional unskilled labor jobs.

• According to the U.S. Department of Labor, full-time working women receive 75-77 cents for every $1 earned by a full-time working man.

• Female university professors earn $6,500 less a year than male university professors.

• According to a worker at a consulting firm named "Pam," women are usually hired as assistants while males are usually hired as associates. Associates generally earn more money that assistants, which makes it seem fair.

• In the WNBA, stars earn $50,000 a year, while in the NBA stars can earn $20 million a year.

• Three quarters of women work in pick-collar ghettos with lower pay. These women are "firmly entrenched;" not receiving pension or life insurance in addition to being paid lower or being hired part-time or temporarily and being paid minimum wage.

o Good News for Working Women: More and better jobs in nearly every employment field; less discrimination in the mere hiring.

o Bad News for Working Women: What they find after being hired and while working. Fewer benefits, lower pay and slower promotions as compared to men.

• The toughest challenge can be balancing work and family. Women, stereotypically, have more family responsibility than men, so pursuing a career while having children can be seen as greedy for the woman, but not the man. Some women even quit their jobs to spend more time with their children.

• Many women face prejudice in jobs that require physical strength. Women may also face prejudice because they are assumed to be mentally weak, due to the assumptions that they are caring, kind and loving.

• There is just overall negativity against women that carries its way into the workplace. Men are called leaders, women are called bossy. While women are no less likely to get angry than men, the way women express anger is seen as too emotional, while the same behavior is perfectly acceptable for a man. (Banging a fist on the table while screaming).

• The glass ceiling has not become a cement ceiling. More women are breaking into traditionally male dominated jobs. Women receive perks and promotions and in some cases, in record numbers.

• The glass ceiling has not been shattered either. Tokenism is prominent in the hiring of women in traditionally male dominated fields. They are promoted slowly and seldom, they struggle to balance home and family, they do not receive equal pay for equal work, they are stuck in pink collar ghettos, they earn three quarters of what men earn.

• Thirty or forty years ago, the wage gap was excused as being a result of equal merit. Now, women have all but caught up with men in education and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act have only helped them, but the pay gap has persisted. The reason for this is sex based discrimination.

A People's Petition for Fair Pay.
We have waited too long. Congress, sign the Fair Pay Act Now.

Introduced by Senator Tom Harkin, a democrat of Iowa, the Fair Pay Act has been debated since 1994, but has been unsuccessful because of the greed and sexism of his fellow members of the House and the Senate.

Because we cannot wait for our government to lead, we shall become leaders in ending inequality in the workplace ourselves. We propose the following actions as essential to attaining equal pay for equal work for women.

First; as a confidence building measure, the U.S. government must declare that it has no interest in the exploitation of women for the success of business.

Second; as a further confidence building measure, the U.S. government must monitor the evening out of paychecks between men and women and set goals for absolute equality for the pay of men and women for equal work to be achieved in months, not years.

Third; in order to even take confidence building measures, the government must hear from its people. Sign this petition and encourage others to do so as well. Visit http://www.house.gov/ writerep/. Find out who your representative is and write him/her urging them to vote to pass the Fair Pay Act in the upcoming 110th Congress.

Fourth; representatives will have no choice but to represent their people, and will thus vote to enforce the Fair Pay Act and ensure equality in the workplace for women.

We send this message to all Americans in civil society, to our elected officials, and to the women's rights movement. We demand that Congressional pass the Fair Pay Act now.

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The Gender Equality - Fair Pay petition to United States Congress was written by Luc Cohen and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.