The American labor market grew stronger and more established around the 19th century. The country’s economy was booming, which attracted foreigners. As a result of the workers’ unions, many laws were enacted. The union’s goal was to protect workers’ rights and provide a stable, safe, and enjoyable workplace. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, for example, paved the way for the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
This paper will discuss how the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Equal Pay Act improved equal pay in the American workplace. That the Acts were crucial in ensuring that women could receive a fair salary exactly like their male counterparts will also be highlighted.
American Job Market
The United States had grown rapidly by early 1900. The rise was reflected in Americans’ incomes and living conditions rather than Europeans. Historian Peter Shergold established this by comparing the living levels of Americans in Pittsburgh with the British in Birmingham. He verified that the cost of living in both countries had risen significantly. As a result, more Europeans sought to relocate and make more money(Chromec et al.,2019). However, the labor market was not fair to persons of color, especially women. In the early twentieth century, women comprised about a third of the American workforce. Despite tremendous development and career prospects, women were still paid less than males for doing the same work.
During the post-war period, progress was made in reducing the pay disparity. A letter to the New York Times questioned why female federal employees were not compensated equally with male counterparts. Women’s protests led to the formation of the Women’s Trade Union League from 1903 until 1950. The group included both working-class and wealthy ladies. The Women’s League campaigned for better working conditions for women and fair pay.
Women’s welfare played an important role in the early 1900s industrial activities. This was highlighted by the industrial actions of the 1909 New York Shirtwaist strike. During the walkout, female textile workers faced terrible working conditions, long hours, and low pay compared to their male counterparts(Chromec et al.,2019). Women telegraph workers made similar allegations. Despite the failure of the later strike to achieve wage equality, it emphasized the necessity to address the issue.
The Fair Labor Standards Act was one of the country’s major measures to ensure fair labor standards. The bill was intended to address minimum wage and overtime compensation. President Roosevelt and Frances Perkins, the first female US Secretary of Labor, drafted the law(Shwartz,2019). The Fair Labour Act also limited an employee’s workweek to 40 hours. The Act was vital because young and old employees were subjected to long hours and little pay, especially during the Great Depression.
Equal Pay Act Effects
In 1963, the Equal Pay Act was enacted. The Act was crucial in creating a statute against gender prejudice. The Act also prohibits discrimination against advancement in favor of men and not women who work in positions that demand equivalent efforts, responsibilities, and abilities. As highlighted, the passing of this legislation has had a significant impact on the labor layout of the country. More women have been able to compete equally for opportunities just as their male colleagues in recent times. Gender is no longer an inhibiting factor(Romero,2019). The legislation has also been crucial n protecting women against harassment in the workplace. It will also be crucial in developing more gender-sensitive legislation to further enhance inclusivity in the workplace especially for members of the LGBTQ community.
The USA has traditionally prided itself on being a country of opportunity. This was proved when the country began to see an increase in immigration. But women have long faced prejudice in getting access to opportunities. Feminists said that women couldn’t work longer due to family obligations and that integrating women into the workplace would be expensive. Inequalities between men and women were addressed in many ways. The Equality Pay Act enabled women to take concrete measures toward gender equality. The statute prohibited discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, or religion. It paved the way for the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Educational Amendment Act. These actions will ultimately lead to gender equality at work.
Chromec, Petr, and PhDr Michal Peprník. “Comparison of Social Roles of Men and Women in pre and post World War two American Suburban Literature.”
Schwartz, Tabitha. “Comparing the Results of 50 years of the Equal Pay Act.” (2019).
Retrieved from: https://ctlsites.uga.edu/schwartztabithampa/wp-content/uploads/sites/1113/2020/04/Schwartz_EqualPay_IssuePaper-2.pdf
Romero, Adam P. “Does the Equal Pay Act Prohibit Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.” Ala. CR & CLL Rev. 10 (2019): 35.