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Columbia Missourian

ROSE NOLEN: Men and women doing the same work should receive the same pay

By ROSE NOLEN
February 5, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST

It’s hard to believe that we have arrived in the 21st century to find women earning less income than men for the same work. It’s even more difficult to believe that any man can justify that situation.

I remember the first job I got making the same amount of money as my male co-workers. It was a government job, and it made the men quite angry. It made me quite happy. For the first time in my life, I was able to pay my own way.

It was never a question for me of trying to do a man’s work. In the first place, I’ve never liked the kind of work that is typically called men’s work. It took me forever to learn to put gas in my car because I don’t like the smell of gas. I was sorry when gas stations stopped offering full service, which meant that I would have to do the work myself.

On the other hand, when it is work at which I am proficient, I see no reason why I should not be paid as much as a man. As far as I’m concerned, I think we are going to have to have a major conference on work in America. We need to set up new standards and classifications for work.

Personally, I think that while the government is setting up a pathway to citizenship, they need to re-examine the labor issue. It’s not surprising that some bosses would hire illegal workers to save money.

The government should be able to monitor employers. Certainly, they should not be able to hire employees undercover. Jobs should be openly advertised. Obviously, new rules of employment should be in place to control hiring and firing. The minimum wage should be readjusted every year. All employees should be covered under the minimum wage standard.

Now that women in the military can be assigned combat duty, it is obviously ridiculous that women who do the same jobs as men should not be paid the same. Some men still believe that they should earn more than women because they are often the head of households. But there are many women that are also heads of households.

Occasionally, there are jobs that women cannot handle because they lack the strength. It would be unlikely that women would apply for such a job. But on the whole, most jobs are not gender-specific so people who are doing the same work should receive the same pay.

There should be an expanded Department of Labor. It would be a place where all matters involving work issues could be handled. There are probably more issues related to job unfairness that go undetected than in any other area of human endeavor.

Women should be aware that they are often paid less than men. They should be especially curious when they work for employers where employees are not allowed to discuss their salaries.

That probably means that someone is being paid less than someone else for doing the same work.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at nolenrose@charter.net. Questions? Contact Opinion Editor Elizabeth Conner.