Currently the Paycheck Fairness Act is at a halt in the U.S Senate. This bill was introduced by Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Representative Rosa DeLauro. It would prohibit companies from discouraging its employees from discussing salary information. In addition, the law would also mandate that employers to prove any differences in pay among workers focus more on the worker’s job position, experience, and/or merit and nothing to do with their gender. The main intention is to allow women to find out if their male co-workers earn more than they do without fear of being fired or economically harassed.
This policy is definitely an important step forward for professional working women especially Asian American women. In 2011, women in the U.S. working full-time only earned an average of 77 cents for every dollar men earned. The pay gap becomes even wider among women of color. Professional working Asian American women only obtain 88 percent of what White men earn. However, they only earn 77 percent of what Asian American men earn. Specifically, Asian American women, on average, get paid $751 on a weekly basis, compared to Asian American men whose average earnings are $971. This is appalling despite efforts brought forward to combat gender discrimination such as the Equal Pay Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. As well as considering higher proportion of women than men attend college!
Moreover, Feministing.com reported that women are both less likely to ask for and receive salary increase. I find that especially true particularly for Asian American women. When I was at last year’s ASPIRE conference, we discussed about how Asian American women grew up thinking hard work and just doing what they’re told to do without question are the only ways to getting a higher salary. Which is clearly not true especially in today’s working world where it’s all about networking! Asian American women and all women, in general, should be tougher and more confident and negotiate for higher pay and approach their boss with courage and defend…(ok more like argue and point out) that they deserve a much a higher pay and/or get promoted because of their hard work. (Sometimes the boss may not always see that) Or find colleagues to back your claim! They should not feel embarrassed or ashamed about asking for higher pay. (According to feministing, you can be non-aggressive and feminine when asking for a pay raise!)
One Last thing! Congress especially those Senate Republicans need to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act needs into law!