Pay Equity at Salem State University


The gender pay gap is defined as the difference between women and men’s average weekly full-time equivalent earnings, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. One of the reasons for the gender pay gap was because of changes in labor force selectivity, gender differences in unmeasured characteristics and in labor market discrimination, and in the favorableness of demand shifts. There was a rising relative demand for intellectual skills relative to physical strength due to technological advances, and these benefited women as a group relative to high-skilled men compared to low-skilled men. Human capital was not a reason for the gender pay gap. Women’s gains result in men’s losses: women enhance their skills and move up the job hierarchy replacing men as they do so. A termed that has been coined from the gender pay gap is the “Glass escalator effect”, which is when men in predominantly female jobs get promoted more easily and earn more money. It has also been found that pay inequity has long-term effects on women. Women are at a disadvantage when they retire because their salaries are lower during their paid work years.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is a United States labor law amending the Fair Standards Act, aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex. This made it illegal to pay men and women working in the same place different salaries for similar work. This was signed into law by John F. Kennedy as part of his New Frontier Program. Congress drafted this legislation to address racial discrimination in the labor force, as well as continue addressing the gender issue. This act prohibited discrimination in “hiring, firing, compensation, classification, promotion, and other conditions of employment on the basis of race, sex, color, religion, or national origin”

Pay Equity Act was signed by Charlie Baker in August 2016 and is being put into effect July 2018. This is to help close the gender gap, unlawful for employers to pay men and women different rates for “comparable work”. Comparable work is defined work that is substantially similar in that it requires substantial skill, effort, and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions. For example, a male janitor and female housekeeper have a comparable job. It will also make it unlawful to screen candidates based on their previous salary, or ask salary based questions until after an offer is made, then only with written permission can they collect that data. This act will cause employers to rewrite majority, if not all the applications, and provide interview training for managers in order to avoid unlawful practices Attempt to make companies offer salaries based on job and not the persons and to make it so women are no longer tethered to their salaries.

Maryland and California have similar equal pay acts in that apply the same thought process and concepts that don’t allow employers to discriminate against candidates based off of prior salaries and gender. California has passed laws that ban salary secrecy, discussion between employees about their salaries, New York did the same thing as well. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research conducted a study that concluded there would be lower poverty rates in every state would lower the poverty rate. The Equal Pay Pledge was passed by President Obama himself, it is supposed to help big industry players share best practices and develop better hiring promotion and pay policies. The pledge ensures fair pay for ALL American’s as well as help business attracts the strongest talent. Overall, the idea behind this is to shrink the gender pay gap as well as boost the economy. Trump supports pay based on performance, yet he expressed concerns in 2015 about equal pay legislature if “everybody ends up making the same pay” it will end up becoming a “socialistic society”

Interviews For Pay Equity

We interviewed three faculty members. We interviewed Dr. Tiffany Gayle Chenault, Dr. Paul Green, and Dr. Patricia Markunas. Dr. Chenault is an African American women and is the chairperson of the Sociology department. Dr. Paul Green is a full-time professor of the sociology department and he is a white male. Dr. Patricia Markunas is an adjunct professor who was previously a full-time professor of the psychology department. She is a white female. Each of them has been here a decent amount of years and have been able to see the progress that has been made towards pay equity at Salem State. Dr. Chenault has been at Salem State about ten years. Dr. Green has been at Salem State about 40 years. Dr. Markunas has been at Salem State for about 30 years. We interviewed each of these professors about pay equity. Each of them had different perspectives and a lot to say.

Dr. Chenault

pmarkunas.jpg Dr. Markunas

pgreen.jpg Dr. Green

Dr. Chenault– “A big part of pay equity is educating people on how to negotiate and how to bargain. so The reason why my pay has increased is because I knew early on how to negotiate my pay at the start, especially as a woman and a woman of color and women do not realize that they can bargain early. How you start in terms of pay will impact you later on.”  (Talks about an example) “We don’t talk about money, we don’t talk about salary, and that’s a problem too.” “Pay equity is making progress but it is a slow progress”

Solution 1: Minimum wage needs to be living wage

When it comes to the pipeline, we are talking about from when you are in kindergarten to when you go to college, talking about careers and opportunities. You are already gender-typed or stereotyped into these specific fields to the jobs you can do or cannot do.

Solution 2: “Going back to the pipeline and educating people. Giving them chances to go into other fields. A lot of it has to do with issues around race too. Having racialized jobs or careers. Congress needs to get moving.”

Dr. Green–  (Explained about the group of women faculty who brought the class action, in an attempt to redress the economic disparities, thinks it was a positive outcome but not enough to actually bring about change or improvement) “People get the pay that they deserve.” that’s what equity is all about. It doesn’t mean that everyone gets paid the same, it means everyone should get paid what they deserve.” equity is a human issue of fairness, basically everyone wants to get paid fairly. Status should not be connected to a role. In this society, they are extremely connected. Students feel that that is okay. If you believe in equity you believe people should be treated fairly.

Dr. Markunas– it means that people who have comparable qualification and comparable responsibilities in a job or a workplace or a professional career should make the same amount of money.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s