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Home > Blog > Labor and Employment > A Look At Gender Equality In The Workplace

A Look At Gender Equality In The Workplace

March is Women’s History Month in the United States–a time to recognize great accomplishments of women, many of which take place in the workplace. The rights and protection for women in the workplace have increased substantially over the past decades with anti-discrimination measures and other laws enacted on both the federal and state levels. In fact, according to the Department of Labor (DOL), participation of women in the labor force has increased from about 43 percent in 1972 to nearly 60 percent in 2012. Women serve on our nation’s highest court, as top executives for the world’s most successful companies, and are running for President of the United States. While all of these accomplishments are highly important, it is also important to note that gender inequality still persists in several ways in the workplace.

Important Gender-related Laws

There are many different laws that promote gender equality in the workplace in the United States, including the following:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act — Prohibits discrimination and harassment based on sex (also protects men from the same sex discrimination).
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act — Prohibits discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or any medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) — Allows for up to 12 weeks of annual unpaid leave for pregnancy, childbirth, or adoption, as well as for other reasons.
  • Equal Pay Act — Aims to provide equal pay for men and women for equal work.

The Fight For Equality Is Far From Over

Despite the numerous federal and state laws in place aiming to ensure workplace equality for female employees, the experience of many women is that we are not quite there yet. For example, the wage gap still prevalently exists across most industries. According to a recent in-depth study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), of the workers surveyed, women earned a median of 81 cents to the dollar earned by men. Some critics have stated that many wage gap claims do not take into account the fact that women tend to choose different professions than men in general. However, the BLS study broke down into many different jobs and demonstrated that the wage gap exists even within traditionally “female” jobs. The following are examples of pay gaps in several traditionally male and female industries as reported by the BLS:

Job Category Median Weekly Earnings for Males Median Weekly Earnings for Females
Secretary/Administrative Assistant $786 $683
Education $1,144 $907
Registered Nurse $1,222 $1,098
Management $1,486 $1,139
Sales $880 $578
Computer/Mathematical $1,503 $1,245

As you can see, a distinct wage gap persists across many industries, even those traditionally associated with women. In addition to the wage gap, women are still regularly victims of discrimination and harassment in the workplace, though other types of discrimination and harassment persist, as well.

Call a Florida Employment Lawyer Today

Women should be aware of the laws that protect them in the workplace and, if they believe their rights have been violated, they should contact the office of employment law attorney Robert S. Norell, P.A. as soon as possible at 305-405-9243.

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