On almost any given day, slightly less than half the population of the United States (the male half) asks the same age old question: What do women want?
For many of us, the jury is out on many levels. But one thing we know (or should know by now) is that women want to be paid the same salaries as men doing the same jobs, with the same level of education and experience. Turns out that even in this age of I-feel-your-pain enlightenment and transparency, women are still often paid less than their male counterparts. That pay inequity is especially true in the private sector where salaries are often secret or not talked about. It goes back, in part, to the days when many if not most households were “headed” by men. Gone are the days.
While the White House is pushing plans to close the pay gap, things in government are different. In the private sector, a male and female salesperson, auditor, attorney or whatever can be paid different rates. And often are.
In the government, a GS 11 step 5 is a GS 11 step 5 whether male or female. Rates vary slightly around the country, because of locality pay. But within that locality area, all men and women, of the same grade and time-in-grade are paid the same.
So, while the government may be less guilty of pay inequity, it isn’t perfect. Federally Employed Women, for example, says the once high-profile Federal Women’s Program (FWP), mandated President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 to study barriers to the hiring and advancement of women in the federal workplace, has greatly languished in recent years. The group wants — in writing in the form of an Instructional Memorandum or other “written reminder” to agency heads — for the White House to direct agencies to:
Outline and delineate the responsibilities of the program and program managers, provide an enforcement mechanism for agencies who do not comply, and to require agencies to once again give “special emphasis” to the program, and setup officials — with clout — to oversee them.
FEW says that there have been improvements. In 2005, 28.8 percent of the GS-15 jobs were held by women. Last year that had risen to 35 percent. But the number of women at the very top, the SES, last year was 32.6 percent, down from 33.5 percent in 2012.
So what is the situation? We’ll find out today on our Your Turn radio program. Janet Kopenhaver, Washington representative for FEW, will be our guest. She’ll talk about where women are now in government and what it will take to improve the numbers.
Later in the show, Andy Medici and Nicole Blake Johnson of The Federal Times will talk about the upcoming federal employee morale survey, pending legislation that would withhold pay from feds held in contempt of Congress and your agency’s concerns over cybersecurity and more on the infamous Heartbleed hacking.
Listen if you can (1500 AM or online), and if you have questions email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call in during the show at (202) 465-3080. The show will be archived here.
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