Local Ethnography On Women’s Pay Equity

In modern era of technological advances and scientific innovations business nevertheless remains the epicenter of global events. Therefore, labor market to great extent is associated with equal human rights and productive human relationships that form the basis for social justice. The latter, as viewed by the majority of sociologists, is an equal treatment of society members regardless of their social status, condition, race, gender, political preferences, religious beliefs, etc. Social justice is regarded as the medium for every individual to achieve goals and have identical opportunities in modern society characterized by various economic, cultural, social, and political inequalities.

In Canada each federation is governed by federal employment laws, which prohibit discrimination based on gender and sex. Also, a number of provinces have introduced new laws on wage gap elimination among men and women.

Top managers along with sociologists were supposed to conduct surveys in their working atmosphere on the topic of women’s pay equity comparing fair treatment and compensation for work among occupations dominated by men and women. Results showed that women involved in both full and part-time jobs received less money than men. In fact, in late 1990s female workers earned 75% of the amount of money their male colleagues had regardless of the fact that according to the research their abilities to successfully negotiate with clients and work hard on the given tasks were several stages higher than those men were characterized by.

Basically, it would be fair to claim that there exist several challenges modern social justice in Canada may experience throughout its attempts to achieve equal treatment among women and men in terms of financial and compensative situation:

First of all, there is a strong tendency in the Canadian society to resolve the issue of wage gap and sex discrimination among men and women without resorting to legal assistance. Typically, these situations do not receive publicity and remain unknown being tackled on individual level. Most often, becoming a victim of underpayment or pay inequity women tend to seek other ways of additional income without leaving their previous jobs. This results in the situation when officially women are satisfied with their condition.

Secondly, pay inequity has much in common with timetable as according to the recent research middle-aged women earn much less money than those in their twenties or thirties or than men of any age. Also, ethnicity and race play an extremely important part in the issue.

“Visible minority women have the lowest income and highest unemployment rates of all groups.  In 1995, the average income of visible minority women was $16,600, compared to $17,100 for other women in Canada, and $23,600 for visible minority men” (Recommendations to the Pay Equity Task Force).

The concentration of women in certain “underestimated” spheres is traditional and pronounced to high degree. For instance, the service industries include such jobs of no prestige and low income as waitress, cleaner, nurse, etc. According to the survey conducted in 2005, about 65% of working women are involved in service industry and have a part-time job due to numerous overwhelming home duties.

Working several hours per day on regular basis greatly contributes to the issue of wage gap as such women are perceived as unqualified workers and add to the problem of poverty. Also, they tend to have low level of livelihood, which may cause poor living conditions resulting in high expenses on health care, etc.

With these preliminary considerations in mind, it would be fair to claim that the issue of pay inequity reflects the adverse status of women in Canada. It denotes that despite numerous social changes implemented by work groups and both governmental and non-governmental organizations, the notions of self-employment and flexible working hours among women still remain of current importance.

“In 2001,over three-quarters of a million women reported being self-employed, representing 11 percent of those with jobs. Over the past decade, 39.6 percent of new jobs in Canada were linked to self-employment, and 44 percent of those who are self-employed earn less than $20,000 a year”. (Recommendations to the Pay Equity Task Force).

According to the Canadian Human Rights Act it is unlawful to evaluate the same task accomplished by men and women differently and pay unequal amount of money in the same organization.  The Act comprises all categories of state employees and necessary conditions for the implementation of the law. However, many find fault in the section that deals with the wage gap issue, as it is not catered to the needs of women. Forming the main risk group and therefore most often applying to higher echelon with complaints that require numerous formal rules and signatures, women tend to refuse from the idea of publicity especially taking into account the fact that the application requires certain expenditures and does not always guarantee the petitioner’s satisfaction.

In order to support women and resolve the issue of unemployment, wage gap, and poverty among them there is a need in creating an efficient action plant that will meet the criteria of governmental establishments in terms of legal policy and comply with the demands of women in the community. The following are the decisions to be made:

§  To gather all necessary available data on the problem of women’s pay equity. This will help the participants of the program to realize the scale of the issue and properly organize preventive measures. After the materials are received and processed, it is important to spread the information in the test field and among those who are relatively or not at all familiar with the problem. This may be implemented through mass media, public gatherings, etc. Identifying the problem helps in its faster and effective solving.

§  To organize clubs and societies where unpaid or low-paid women will have an opportunity to talk about their previous or current experience, share their own ideas on how to reduce the number of those suffering from social inequity. It would be a significant contribution to the implementation of the project as the victims are the best source of thoughts and ideas on how to help people to solve the problem.

§  To enlist governmental, non-governmental, and public organizations in the program including their financial support as project sponsors. To encourage them to tighten already existing rules of their companies in terms of wage gap and money distribution.

§  To encourage women to start their own business and actively participate in public life

§  To support women in new beginnings and promote their further professional education and training

§  To collaborate with various associations and groups such as the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women Clubs

§  To issue newspapers or journals on the topic

§  To create favorable working atmosphere for women (especially of foreign origin).

§  To promote global interaction among the members of the high-risk group portraying adverse conditions and consequences of inability to speak up and be assertive.

§  To promote equal payment for jobs of identical value

§  To uphold safe working environment with all necessary skills such as computer literacy, etc.

§  To eliminate violence against women and avoid excessive number of men in the staff.

In conclusion, it would be appropriate to note that the main objective of the action plan and other projects connected with the indicated above problem is to destroy the traditionally established stereotype denoting that women are supposed to be involved in low-income sector.

“Policies such as paid parental leave, equal employment opportunities and the promotion of fair bargaining can improve women’s ability to participate fully in the labor market” (Pay Equity).

In order for us to succeed it is necessary to create a positive image of independent and smart woman who in fact always remains such and demonstrate her ability to cope with tasks that traditionally are only given to men.