Women in the Workforce Essay

Women in the Workforce Since the beginning, women have had to fight hard for the rights they have now got. Women fought for their change to vote, for fair equal workplace, equal pay, and abortion among just a few. Abortion used to be at the top of the list, but has now been replaced by fighting for money. Equal amounts for men and women (Tarr-Whelan, 1993). For what women believed they deserved an equal fair in they fought for. From the time this started to the present time, has much changed? Many gains have been made in achieving legal rights and political clout in the last quarter of a century by women.

Have pay wages improved. Is discrimination in the workplace the same, or has it improved with time? The pay gap causes are embedded deeply in our society’s institutions and are quite complex. The major factor is occupational segregation. Lower-paying jobs are still a problem in with two-thirds employed in jobs that are traditional to women. These roles are such as caring, cashiering, catering, cleaning and clerical jobs to name a few (. An understanding of the history of the women’s movements and what it has meant for women in the workforce today (Fredman, 2008).

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If it was not for the women’s movements, the rights that women have today might not be so. It has taken 162 years from the present time, 2010, to when the fight for women rights began in 1848 (Imbornoni, Time Line 1, 2009). Much has happened in this long time frame and changes are still occurring today. To show how women have worked for the rights they have now, in all aspects, the workforce still needs much revision to make it equal for both men and women. This all began in 1848 at the first women’s convention was held (Imbornoni, Time Line 1, 2009). The first women’s convention was held in New York in a town called Seneca Falls.

Two days of discussions and debates took place. There were 32 men and 68 women who filled this first women’s rights convention in which the Declaration of Sentiments was signed (Imbornoni, Time Line 1, 2009). The Declaration of Sentiments was drafted by a woman named Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The Sentiments asked for equality with men before law. This included areas of education and employment. This was not only the beginning of the fight for equality, but for the women’s right to vote as well (U. S. Dept. of State, 2007). The next breakthrough in history came in 1903. 1903 was a big year for women.

The National Woman’s Trade Union League (WTUL) was established. This league worked to advocate for improved wages. It does not stop there. This league was also fighting for improved working conditions for women (Imbornoni, Time Line 1, 2009). This came about because women were excluded constantly from other labor organizations. The organizations thought that women did not have a place in the workforce. One other thing bothered men about women working and that is the men thought by allowing the women in the labor cause would cause their wages to decrease along with the woman’s place is in the home.

At that same time the women that were in the workplace numbered 6. 3 million women (Women’s Trade Union League, 2000). The woman’s movement was quite quiet for a few years if it pertained to employment and wages equality. One major event that followed was the formation of the Woman’s Bureau of the Department of Labor in 1920 (Imbornoni, Time Line 1, 2009). This bureau was established by Congress to represent the needs of women when it came to wage earnings (United States Department of Labor, 2009). Just as before, another long major break in attempts to get equal pay and better working standards for women occurs.

It is not until the 1930s when a new deal legislation of the 1930s occurred. A federal minimum wage for employees was part of this big new deal. This was done in hopes to repair the havoc the Great Depression. The minimum was not only for men, but women as well (Acker, 2005). It seems as if changes are coming for women, but are they? In 1938 the Fair Labor Standards Act is passed. One problem with this act, it is meant for wage and hour standard for white male working class jobs. No help for the women with their labor problems (Acker, 2005).

The following year, many things would change. World War II, which began in 1939 and continued till 1945, caused some changes to occur (Worldwar-1. net, 2010). An act that applied to wage and hourly standards to white, male, working-class jobs that were not collective bargaining was the Fair Labor Standards. This did not apply to white women and African-American women. It was at this time that equal wages for both men and women began to become an issue to the public. Separate demands that separate women and male pay scales was a typical standard and the workers wanted it abolished.

This would begin to change later in time (Acker, 2007). Later in time, June 10th of 1963, the equal pay act was legislated. This later will provide the basis for comparable worth movement for equal pay for work and comparable value, or equal pay for female and male dominated jobs that were different in task content but close to the same in in value. One argument stood its ground. is that women and men are both breadwinners. This is also known as a wage living argument. A new living wage movement will occur at a later date in time (Acker, 2007). More continued to happen the following year.

In 1964, another part of the Civil Rights Act was added. This bars discrimination based on race and sex in the workforce. It has another act as well and that is that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was established and hired to investigate complaints that resulted and penalties were imposed (Imbornoni, Time Line 2, 2007). A few years later it continues. In 1966, a couple of major happenings occurred. A group of feminists, of which one of the members was Betty Friedan, was founded. This organization called The National Organization for Women (NOW).

So far this is the largest woman’s rights groups in the United States. This group is based on fighting sexual discrimination. This is done by using legislative lobbying, litigation, and public demonstrations (Imbornoni, Time Line 2, 2007). Now women have added a bit more than just wanting equal pay. Now sexual discrimination is involved. A year goes by and yet the process goes on. In 1967, The President Lyndon Johnson’s affirmative action policy of 1965 is changed with Executive Order 11375. The adds a bit more to the policy on gender discrimination.

At this time federal agencies and contractors had to stand up and take measures on minorities and women enjoy the same as white males. This pertains to areas of education and employment to name a couple (Imbornoni, Time Line 2, 2007). In 1968 yet more happenings occur. In 1968, rulings are make that sex- segregated help wanted ads in newspapers is illegal. It takes several years to make this ruling stick. Finally in 1973 a way is open for higher-paying jobs that were once only open to men. What a step for women (Imbornoni, Time Line 2, 2007).

In 1970, a court of appeals make a new rule. This includes jobs that are held by both men and women need to substantially equal but however do not have to be identical. This is meant to fall under the Equal Pay Act (Imbornoni, Time Line 2, 2007). There is still much history to go. A forum for feminine voices appears in 1971. This is the magazine Ms. Magazine. The editor of this woman’s magazine, Gloria Steinem, becomes an idol in the modern feminist movements (Imbornoni, Time Line 2, 2007). In 1971, an amendment is passed by Congress and on to the state it went for ratification.

This amendment drafted in 1923 by Alice Paul states that equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State an account of them being female or male. Later in time this amendment died. It did not achieve ratification in 1982 by a minimum of 38 states (Imbornoni, Time Line 2, 2007). On June 20th of that same year, Title IX of the Education Amendments bans sex discrimination in schools. One benefit is that women enrolled more in athletics programs and professional schools increase (Imbornoni, Time Line 2, 2007).

In 1978 a big step for women takes place. The pregnancy discrimination act comes into effect. This means a woman cannot be fired due to becoming pregnant or cannot be made to take leave if they chose to continue to work (Imbornoni, Time Line 2, 2007). Many changes for women have come about in the many years that have passed. Women today are continuing to fight for the rights of things they should also be included in. Now, for a bit of recent history when it comes to women’s rights and what is fair. In the 1990’s a new living wage movement appears.

These included campaigns to pass local ordinances either being a local minimum wage that would be in effect for all places of employment or requiring the workers contracting with local government also pay a living wage. This alone is not enough to slow the markets pressures of wages as a price (Acker, 2005). Now for a quoted estimate about the gender pay gap and that it would close within 30 years. It was thought that it was women’s choices that were causing the pay gap. Statistics have shown that in the year 2001, white women earned 73% of what a white man earned.

That same year black women had close to the same result, 85% of what the black males made. This seems to show that men of any race or ethnic background make more than a woman (Lips, n. d. ). Over time women have made some stands for the rights they believed they were not receiving. Improvements have been made and will most likely continue, but not unless women continue to stand for the right they should have. Rights men have, and women should. We are all equal and should all be treated as such. Time has shown progress so let’s have strong hopes for the future of women and equality.

References Acker, J. (2005). Living Wages, Equal Wages: Gender and Labor Market Policies in the United States. Gender, Work & Organization, 12(3), 291-294. doi:10. 1111/j. 1468-0432. 2005. 00274_1. x. Albelda, R. (2004). Living Wages, Equal Wages: Gender and Labor Market Policies in the United States (Book). Feminist Economics, 10(1), 160-164. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database Fredman, S. , (2008). Reforming Equal Pay Laws. Industrial Law Journal, 37(3), 193. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database Imbornoni, A. , (2009). Women’s rights movement in the u. . Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://www. infoplease. com/spot/womenstimeline1. html Imbornoni, A. , (2009). Women’s rights movement in the u. s. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://www. infoplease. com/spot/womenstimeline2. html Lips, H. , (n. d. ). The gender wge gap: Debunking the rationalizations. Retrieved July, 12, 2010, from http://www. womensmedia. com/new/Lips-Hilary-gender-wage-gap. shtml Tarr-Whelan, L. (1993). Women Today and the Women’s Movement. Social Policy, 23(4), 8-13. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database. United States Department of Labor. 2009). WB: and overview 1920-2009. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://www. dol. gov/wb/info_about_wb/interwb. htm U. S. Dept. of State, (2007). The declaration of sentiments: Seneca falls, New york, 1848. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://www. infoplease. com/ipa/A0875901. html Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL), (2000). Gale Encyclopedia of U. S. Economic History. 2000. Retrieved July 12, 2010 from Encyclopedia. com: http://www. encyclopedia. com/doc/1G2-3406401044. html Worldwar-2. net. (2010). Introduction. Retrieved July 12, 2010, from http://www. worldwar-2. net/


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