Taking aim at male/female wage gap

Imagine working an extra 13 weeks a year just to make what you do now.

According to recent income reports, women in the US have to do just that to make as much as men.

Today, women earn an average of 75 cents for every dollar men make, according to the US Census Bureau.

Still, the situation is improving since the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963. Back then, women, on average, made 59 cents to every dollar earned by men.

Last week, President Clinton proposed a $27 million plan to further close the earnings gap. The measure aims to make sure existing laws are adequately enforced, and to help train women to work in industries where they are typically underrepresented, particularly in high-techology.

"People who work hard and play by the rules ought to be rewarded in proportion to their contribution, not their gender," Mr. Clinton said. "We need to send the message that wage discrimination against women is just as unacceptable as racial or ethnic discrimination."

Critics say the plan will only encourage more lawsuits. Last year, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saw 23,907 charges filed on the basis of sexual discrimination, a figure that has remained fairly consistent over the past decade.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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