Women hold 42 percent of the jobs in the civilian labor force, yet the average woman makes only 59 percent as much money as the average man. The US Labor Department says that low-paying jobs, less pay for the same work, and limited opportunities for advancement are part of the problem.
The Labor Department has recently issued the booklet "Job Rights" to help women assert their job rights (available from the Labor Department, Washington, DC 20210). By law, a woman who is working or planning to work stands equal with a man in opportunity for jobs, in wages and benefits, in advancement on the job, and in retirement benefits, the department says.
Whether hunting for a job for the first time, or looking for a new career, local state employment offices can help with free counseling, testing, and placement services. For women interested in one of the 450 apprenticeable occupations in the skilled trades, the booklet points out that federal regulations require apprenticeship programs with more than five apprentices to take affirmative action to recruit women and minorities.
The publication also tells what a woman can do if an employer refuses to let her file an application for a job and accepts other applications; if an employment agency refuses to refer a woman to certain job openings; a union refuses to let her join; or if a woman is fired or laid off, or passed over for promotion, because she is female.
According to the booklet, she can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Many states have labor departments that can help, or the employee can contact the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Washington, DC 20506.
Older women also have legal protection from discrimination. Women between the ages of 40 and 70 may not be discriminated against in hiring or compensation , according to the booklet.
To order a copy of "A Working Women's Guide to Her Job Rights," send $1.60 to Consumer Information Center, Dept. 119H, Pueblo, CO 81009.