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It’s time to play up the pay gaps

02/18/2014
The Penn Staff

Like other state public universities, students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania attend class in a coeducational manner, takings notes, quizzes, essays and tests side by side, ideally, as “equals” with their classmates regarding gender.

Applying pay-gap figures to academia, if a male and a female student received an equal grade of 100 out of 100 points on a test, the female student would end up with an 87 percent while the male student would have an 100 percent, a 13 percent point difference, according to 2012 pay-gap numbers in a December 2013 Pew Research Center statistic.

Bringing this scenario to academia highlights the disparity with gender pay gaps. Think about the work put in for those precious percentage points in college. That’s still hard work put in, just as you would in a full-time job.

However, this issue was brought to light recently by President Barack Obama in his 2014 State of the Union speech.

“A woman deserves equal pay for equal work,” Obama said in the address. “This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves. Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds.”

Obama also urged Congress to move forward on the Paycheck Fairness Act, according to a 2014 The Washington Post article.

In general, the majority (55 percent, according to Pew) of Americans agree that women should earn the same amount as men for doing the same job.

And the Paycheck Fairness Act can be the legislation that brings the issue of pay gaps to parity. However, after observing recent history of Congress action regarding pay gap progression, obstacles may be evident even with the president backing up the issue. Most recently in January 2013, the bill was blocked by Senate Republicans, according to a 2014 Post article.

“We don’t think America suffers from a lack of litigation. We have a jobless problem,” the then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said at the time, according to the Post. “We have a debt problem. We have a deficit problem. We got a lot of problems.”

While we as a country may have “a lot of problems,” keep in mind one of the founding backbone attributes that we allegedly pride ourselves of in the U.S. – equality.

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