Oct. 9, 2017
Haley Swenson wrote for the Better Life Lab blog on Slate on practical ways to end the gender pay gap.
The Trump administration recently ended a modest attempt to close the gender wage gap when it rescinded a not-yet-effective policy from the Obama administration that simply required businesses to report employees’ pay by gender and race. Now many are wondering how they will be able to accomplish anything on pay equality in the next three years (even Ivanka threw the idea under the bus) if even allowing basic transparency to move forward was too heavy a lift for the Trump administration.
The oft-cited statistic that women make about 80 cents to every dollar earned by men has remained basically accurate for a decade now. But there’s no reason to think that federal policy was going to be the engine for closing that gap in the first place, though there are a number of likely effective actions the federal government could take if it had the political will to do so. One effort is the Paycheck Fairness Act, which stops retaliation against employees who disclose their pay to co-workers and makes employers prove that pay discrepancies exist for nondiscriminatory reasons. This bill would be a big step, but unfortunately it has been introduced in Congress every year since 1997 and has never made any headway. Historically, however, federal policy has never been all that effective.