Equal pay, equal work

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Senator Patrick Leahy joins us the morning after the U.S. Senate takes its turn at trying to pass a bailout package to buy out bad debt and shore up the credit market.(Listen)

We’ll also ask Leahy about equal pay for women. Advocates say the problem is still around, and that it’s difficult to know how many women are being paid less than their male counterparts because many women are afraid to make an issue of it. And in some cases, businesses may not be aware there’s an equal pay problem. We talk with Wendy Love of the Vermont Commission on Women and Lisa Ventriss of the Vermont Business Roundtable about pay equity.(Listen)

Also in the program, Vermont climate change activist Dee Gish was one of a 1,000 people who received training from Al Gore in how to teach people about global warming. She talks with Jane Lindholm about The Climate Project and how she’s spreading the message here in Vermont. (Listen)


Listener comments:

Ed from Rutland:

Attention prospective buyers of tires: hearing of the mistreatment of Ms. Ledbetter by Goodyear Tire and the Supreme Court it is time to say don’t get mad, get even. With winter coming on, I was aware of fact that with I was in need of new tires. I will not consider Goodyear Tires  because of the unfair manner in which Ms. Ledbetter was denied the same benefits as her counterpart male supervisors had received. The only language that Goodyear understands is to hit them in the pocket book and contact them and tell them why. Boycott them.


Tom in Shelburne:

Risk: the fact that women tend to be clustered in a few areas, such as social services, suggests that men and women tend (in general) to have different preferences. Men tend (in general) to tolerate higher risk. This is evident in telecommunications: telephone operators, sitting indoors, with access to toilet facilities, tend to be women, whereas line repair crews, who work high above the ground in all kinds of weather, tend to be men. The probability of serious injury or death in the child care industry is very low, and the work takes place in a safe, indoor environment. Most child care providers are women. In logging, the working conditions are primitive, and the risks are very high (logging, farming, and commercial fishing have the highest rates of death and injury). Most loggers are men. (As are most commercial fishermen and farmers.) How many child care providers change careers, and become loggers, in order to earn more money? This is just one reason for pay disparity.

Hours: most studies of pay disparity compare salaries for full-time work, defined as at least 35 hours per week. When we look at the underlying statistics, we find that men who work full-time, spend (on average) more hours per week on the job than do women who work full-time. We are looking at statistics, not anecdotes about my sister-in-law, or your college roommate.

Continuity: a third reason for pay disparity is continuity of job experience, versus taking time off to be a parent.

Summary: if it is true that women are paid less than men, for doing exactly the same work, with exactly the same continuity of experience in the job, exactly the same skills, and working exactly the same number of hours, why would any business (or non-profit) ever hire a man?

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