Years ago, women who worked at the same jobs were paid less than their male counterparts. Equal Pay Acts passed by the governments of many developed and developing countries have attempted to straighten out this gender gap in salaries. They have been successful to varying degrees, which may come as a surprise to people to take gender pay equality for granted.
In Canada, Pay Equality ensures that a man and a woman doing the same job for the same company must be paid equally. This law is in force everywhere in Canada. Certain jurisdictions also have a law demanding Pay Equity, which states that female dominated professions that are of the same importance as male dominated ones should also receive the same pay. However, Canadian women still make 20% less than Canadian men.
Until 1969, Australian employers were able to pay women 25% less than their male counterparts. The passage of the equal pay for equal work changed the situation for women working at the same jobs but not for women doing different work. In 1972 they amended the Female Rights Act to include pay equity - equal pay for similar work, and in 1986 they banned discriminating against females in the hiring process. The pay gap between genders is still in the neighborhood of 17%, however.
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In the United Kingdom, a strike by the sewing machinists at the Ford factory prompted the passing of the Equal Pay Act of 1970. This act prevented discrimination not just via paycheck but also in the terms and conditions of women's employment. Pay also encompasses a broad variety of benefits, from wages to pensions to perks to insurance and vacation days. The act has since been simplified to match up with the European Union equal pay laws. However, statistics reveal that women in the UK still make 20% less than men.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal for a company to discriminate against women employees or pay them differently for doing similar work. It also laid out rules against discriminating against women in terms of raises and promotions. According to statistics, however, even now women in the United States still make only about 77% of what men do.