It has been almost 5 decades now since President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act. It emphasized and legalized that the payment for female workers should not be less than that which a man performing the same job receives. But at this point in time, women are still receiving around 18% less weekly salary than that of a man working full time.
A few weeks ago, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which had been sponsored by Secretary of State Clinton in 2009 and was backed by the Obama administration, was blocked by the Senate Republicans. Economists are saying that the bill does not really address the reason why women are earning less than men, which is that women take on different job roles than men and eventually lead to different career paths as well. It has been established that women take a side step when it comes to job promotions thinking that their time for their family would be affected when they embrace more responsibility in the company.
The government and the private sector need to find a way for women, and specifically mothers, to be able to sustain and pursue her career growth without fear of sacrificing her ability to take care of her family. There needs to be enough support and flexibility in the work environment for individuals to devote the time they want to both family and their profession. Support should also start in school when students are choosing courses. Most women will choose education over engineering because they know that education provides a work schedule that matches well with kids school schedules. A study made by the American Association of University Women found that 18% of women choose engineering while a whooping 79% choose education as their major course.
There are several organizations that exist to help support women who want to succeed in technology, which Ivo Lukas, the COO of Girls in Tech, has summarized.
Anita Borg Institute connects women and technology, through women who have found their spot in the technology field and would love to have other women on board the same career path.
Tech Women / IIE was started by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. They build a bridge for female technology leaders from Middle East and North Africa and their counterparts inAmerica through providing exchange programs and professional mentorship.
National Center for Women and Information Technology is a non-profit community that works hand in hand with the different sectors such as the government, agencies, schools and corporations to have women participate in technology and computing.
Women in Technology International’s goal is to provide access and support for women who are trying to make an impact in technology sectors by making connections with professional women who are already established in the technology field.
Girls in Tech is one of the fastest growing non-profit social network enterprises, with a focus on encouraging, educating and empowering women to enter the technology field. They have a mentorship program that provides a venue for young girls to develop the love for science, math and technology as well as develop entrepreneurial exposure.