By Alyssa Blake
Unequal pay based on gender has been a reality for women in the workforce for decades. Laws, such as The Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII were passed in an attempt to close the pay gap between men and women based on gender, but gender pay inequality is still present and affecting women all over the world, including Tallahassee.
Women are gaining an education at a higher rate than in previous decades. According to Statista Research Department, “36.6 percent of women in the United States had completed four years or more of college in 2019. This figure is up from 3.8 percent of women in 1940.”
Despite the increase in education the pay gap continues to be an issue for many working women. According to a Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of U.S. workers, women earned 85% of what men earned in 2018. Younger women are doing a bit better, with those ages 25 to 34 earning 89 cents for every dollar earned by men in the same age group.
Barbara Walker is an employee at the Department of Economic Opportunity, who has experienced the effects of the gender pay gap firsthand during her career in Leon County.
“Starting my career in workforce services, I learned that the females were paid less than our male counterparts although we were doing the same job. This information was kept quiet until I accidentally ran across the pay roster which showed the discrepancy,” Walker stated. “The two males in the same position were paid at least a dollar more than the four females with the same job titles and duties.”
The issue of gender pay inequality is an issue that is still present for state employees.
“There is a gender pay gap at my place of employment, including the unit that I work in,” Walker said.
Florida Has A Right To Know is a website committed to giving the public access to the salaries of state employees and, the site confirmed that there is a pay gap for State of Florida employees. For example, there is a difference in pay by $4,691 for a male and female employee with the same title as Director, Academia Support SVS with the male director earning more than the female director.
Candice Wilson is the Human Resources Director for the Leon County Government. The facility has done multiple studies in recent years comparing the gender pay gap in the Leon County Government to gender pay statistics for state and federal employees.
“Women made 5.7 percent more than men at the Leon County Government, but when you look at the state women made 13 percent less than men,” Wilson said. “Compared to the US government where women make 18.4 percent less than men.”
Though the gender pay gap is an issue that affects local women in the workforce, a lot of businesses have not taken the time to study and compare how their compensation to female employees ranks against other organizations.
“I haven’t seen a lot of studies in Leon County on the gender pay gap, so we couldn’t compare ourselves to a lot of places during our study,” Wilson said. “That’s why we had to compare ourselves to the state and the U.S. government.”
There are still many businesses in Leon County where gender pay inequality is the reality for female employees. Some organizations have recognized the reality of the gender pay gap and have worked to change it, while some organizations have not taken steps to change gender pay inequality.