Gender Pay Disparity, the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the Need for Reform
27 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2022
Date Written: August 8, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and deepened systemic inequities in the United States. One such inequity is gender discrimination in the labor market, evidenced by pay disparity—the difference between women’s and men’s wages. During the pandemic, women left the workforce at double the rate of men. This employment disruption will negatively affect women’s wages upon their return, as well as their lifetime earnings, further widening the pay gap. Pay disparity exploits more than half of the population, decreases gross national product, and stymies economic growth. This article addresses the reasons why existing legislation has failed to close the pay gap. Relying on the framework of successful Icelandic legislation, which has helped narrow gender pay disparities in Iceland, this article proposes federal legislative reform measures designed to shift the burden of proving wage discrimination from the employee to the employer. Instituting these changes would diminish the effect of implicit gender biases and, correspondingly, reduce pay disparity.
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