Earlier this week, the New York Times published an article by Nancy Folbre, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, about the uneven success of the feminist movement. Folbre points out that in the past 20 years the “pace of change in attitudes, labor force participation and relative earnings has slowed, leading to speculation about the ‘end of the gender revolution.’”
Folbre doesn’t believe the revolution has ended but does think it has stalled. In looking at compensation, women are earning about 81 cents for every dollar earned by a man for the same work. While that’s an increase from the 77 cents of previous years, equal pay is still a goal that has not been achieved.
There are also pay discrepancies between socio-economic classes of women that leave lesser-educated women suffering. Northwestern University sociologist Leslie McCall said, “Absolute gains among women as a whole, and visible absolute gains among more highly educated women in particular, came at the expense of the worsening situation of low-skilled women, whose real wages have been falling.”
Equal pay is one of Vision 2020’s five national goals for 2020, and the focus is on equal pay for all—not just certain populations.
But the road to equal pay will be difficult. Folbre writes that “Demographic and economic differences among both women and men in the United States make it difficult to mobilize support for such policies here. And in the absence of such policies, inequality is likely to intensify.”
Join Vision 2020’s Campaign for Equality and find out what you can do in 2012 to show your support for pay equity.