News reports in Illinois and across the country have drawn attention to ongoing issues with sexual harassment and workplace discrimination, and women workers continue to report significant concerns about bias on the job. According to one study of 1,000 American workers, there are a number of concerns about gender discrimination, including the gender pay gap, female representation at higher executive levels and parental leave for both women and men. Around one-fifth of respondents said that the gender pay gap continues to be their most serious concern, even though unequal pay for women and men has long been unlawful.
Some have sought to excuse the persistent gap by arguing that it reflects women’s choice of occupations or decisions to work part-time. However, others have pointed out that even in highly skilled positions, women continue to report lower salaries and pay than men performing similar tasks. When it comes to child care, 9% named parental leave as a major concern. This is not separate from the issue of unequal pay, because women are often forced into fewer hours or less demanding jobs in order to provide care for their children, especially at a young age. Improved parental leave could provide greater security for women’s career development.
The pay gap is not only an example of gender discrimination but can also reflect racial discrimination. Whileb white women earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by a white man, the gap is far greater for women of color overall and lack women in particular. Even companies that reported significant progress in closing the gap may still have more work to do.
Women workers continue to lose out on thousands of dollars in pay and benefits due to workplace discrimination. An employment law attorney may assist affected workers in taking action to pursue compensation.