WASHINGTON - At a recent hearing, the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee heard testimony from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the prevalence of female managers, their marital and education status, and their differences in pay compared to male managers.
In an analysis of the Census Bureau's American Community Survey from 2000 to 2007, the GAO found that women were largely underrepresented in management positions and that across industries female managers "earned 81 cents for every dollar earned by male managers" in 2007, up slightly from 79 cents in 2000. The GAO analysis also noted that female managers in 2007 "had less education, were younger on average, were more likely to work part-time, and were less likely to be married or have children, than male managers."
In response to the GAO's findings, committee members discussed policies and proposals seeking to address these disparities, including:
creating a greater number of accessible childcare facilities at or near the workplace,
increasing paid leave opportunities for mothers and fathers, and
advocating for more female representation in high managerial positions in order to better address work related issues that negatively affect women.
Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, D. N.Y., noted the importance of supporting new legislation, such as the Paycheck Fairness Act, in helping to ensure equality for women in the workplace. As an update of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Paycheck Fairness Act would prohibit employers from retaliating against employees who disclose or discuss their salaries; improve wage data collection; and put remedies for gender-based wage discrimination on an equal footing with discrimination based on race or ethnicity.
The House of Representatives passed the Act in January 2009 and advocates hope that the Senate will vote for final passage of the bill after the election.