History of the Gender Wage Gap

Timeline created by amandaallbee
  • 1883: An early public demand for fair pay

    1883: An early public demand for fair pay
    Communications nation-wide halted when workers for Western Union Telegraph Company went on strike mostly to ensure “equal pay for equal work” for male and female employees. It was unsuccessful, but one of the first demands for equal pay for women in America.
  • 1911: Battle with the Board of Ed

    1911: Battle with the Board of Ed
    New York teachers were granted equal pay to their male counterparts after a battle with the Board of Education http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9E01EFD61131E233A25757C2A9669D946096D6CF
  • 1918: World World I

    1918: World World I
    The Assistant Director of the Employment Service said: “When the lists have been prepared…it is believed that the force of public opinion and self-respect will prevent any able-bodied man from keeping a position officially designated as ‘women's work." The National War Labor Board decided women should be paid the same:
    “If it shall become necessary to employ women on work ordinarily performed by men, they must be allowed equal pay for equal work.” This lost steam after the wars.
  • The 1930's

    The 1930's
    The United States Federal Government required that female employees be paid 25% less than male employees
  • 1940’s and 50’s: “Separate and Unequal”

    1940’s and 50’s: “Separate and Unequal”
    Newspapers published separate listing for jobs for men and women; Jobs were characterized based on sex, and higher level jobs stated on their applications “Help Wanted-Male.”The jobs that were not exclusively for men still had separate (unequal) scales of pay. Between 1950-60, women with full time jobs earned between 59-64 cents of their male counterparts within the same job.
  • 1942: World War II

    1942: World War II
    Many American women were taking on jobs in the war industries during WWII while the men were overseas, so the National Labor Board urged employers to voluntarily make “adjustments which equalize wage or salary rates paid to females with the rates paid to males for comparable quality and quantity of work on the same or similar operations.” Employers did not comply, and pushed the women out of their jobs when the men returned home.
  • 1963: Equal Pay Act of 1963

    1963: Equal Pay Act of 1963
    Signed into law by President John F. Kennedy on June 10th,1963 overcoming opposition by business leaders and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It became illegal to pay women lower rates for doing the same job as a man strictly because of their sex. “Demonstrable differences in seniority, merit, the quality or quantity of work, or other considerations might merit different pay.”JFK called it a “significant step forward.”
  • 1964: Civil Rights Act

    1964: Civil Rights Act
    Prohibited discrimination based on race, origin, color, religion or sex
  • 1969: President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Executive Order

    1969: President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Executive Order
    President Lyndon B. Johnson makes and executive order for all establishments to provide equal employment opportunities to men and women. It required federal contractors to "take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed and that employees are treated during employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."
  • 1970: Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co. (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit)

    1970: Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co. (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit)
    This court case ruled that jobs need to be “substantially equal” but not “identical” to fall under the protection of the Equal Pay Act. For example, an employer cannot change the jobs titles of women workers in order to pay them less than men.
  • 1974: Corning Glass Works v. Brennan (U.S. Supreme Court)

    1974: Corning Glass Works v. Brennan (U.S. Supreme Court)
    This U.S. Supreme Court case ruled that employers cannot justify paying women less because that’s what they traditionally received under the going market rate. It ruled that a wage differential occuring simply because men would not work at the low rates paid women was unacceptable.
  • 1980’s: A Rapid Reduction in Wage Gap

    1980’s: A Rapid Reduction in Wage Gap
    This decade contained the most rapid rate of reduction in wage gap. The median annual wage and salary earnings of full-time, full-year women who worked rose from 60% of men’s earnings in 1979 to 69% only a decade later. The speed of this increased was faster than in the 1990’s and 2000’s.This was due to the increase in women who achieved college degrees and obtaining professional degrees and women entered higher paying fields.
  • 1984: bell hooks and The Feminine Mystique

    1984: bell hooks and The Feminine Mystique
    bell hooks points out that single women and working-class women are disregard in Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. She claims that the books only acknowledges the struggles of white, upper/middle class women This began the conversation of intersectionality in feminism in regard to the gender wage gap.
  • 1996: Equal Pay Day

    1996: Equal Pay Day
    Originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity. It created as a public awareness even to show the gap between men’s and women’s wages. On previous equal pay days over the year, grassroots organizing on fair pay “swept local communities.” Women’s business associations, civil rights organizations and labor groups committed to equal pay came up with activities to raise awareness about how to change wage inequality.
  • 2009: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

    2009: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
    President Obama’s first piece of legislation, signed into law on January 29th. It reinforces practice of equality set forth by Civil Rights Act of 1964. It also declares that the 180-day statute of limitations of reporting discrimination in the workplace resets with each discriminatory paycheck.
  • 2015: Obama’s State Of The Union Address

    2015: Obama’s State Of The Union Address
    Delivered on Jan. 20th, 2015, Obama challenges the gender wage gap in his speech: “Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. That's why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. Really. It's 2015. It's time.” Full Transcript Here: http://www.npr.org/2015/01/20/378680818/transcript-president-obamas-state-of-the-union-address
  • 2017: Equal Pay Day

    2017: Equal Pay Day
    The next Equal Pay Day will fall on April 4th, 2017; this date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.
  • 2059**

    **If the trend in increase of gender pay equality from 2001-2015 continues, it is projected. we will achieve pay equality in 2059. Yikes.