Previously published in Examiner
Part 4 of the women in the corporate world series
The lack of female representation in executive positions and wage discrimination
Newspapers reported separate ads for male and female jobs until the 1960’s, when employment based on sex discrimination was rendered illegal. Separate was blatantly unequal.
This separation of the jobs based on gender had served a purpose. It created the unequal pay scale. An employer was not forced to pay a woman the same amount as he would pay a man; since they were considered two different jobs, The job could be identical to the male position, but if the employer advertised for a woman he could get away with paying her up to three time less than what he would pay a man. In the 1950’s through 1960, a woman would earn on average, 59-64 cents for every dollar a man made in the same job doing exactly the same thing.
Legislation for equal pay
The government passed the Equal Pay Act, in 1964, rendering this practice of unequal pay for genders illegal. From June 1964 to Jan 1971, the court awarded back wages to the tune of $26,000,000 spread among 71,000 women who were victims of the unequal pay scales and the going market rate for women.
Landmark court cases for equal pay
Schultz v. Wheaton Glass Co. (1970) case U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit – determined that jobs needed to be “substantially equal” but not “identical” to fall under the protection of the Equal Pay Act.
Corning Glass Works v. Brennan (1974), U.S. Supreme Court – this ruling, simply put, legislated that employers could not pay women less just because that was how it was always done, nor could they give the excuse that men would not accept those wages so they would pay women who would. Equal pay was expected for both genders.
If you are a working woman in Montreal and want to connect with a working network of women you can contact:
Contacts for Businesswomen
The Women’s Entrepreneurial Networking System