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Women are edging close to an income cliff. Here’s why.

There’s a reason why women gravitate to teaching and government administrative jobs: family-friendly hours, a clear career path and pay bands, which are supposed to minimize pay discrimination. But as the economy stumbles towards recovery, financially exhausted governments are cutting loose tens of thousands of employees. And, as the Wall St. Journal reported this weekend, that means that women’s jobs are slated for elimination.

Because it tries to set a lofty example for those moneygrubbers in private industry, the Federal Government has been monitoring the state of its own gender pay gap…and making respectable progress towards closing it.

Still, there’s an 11% gap, and given the strict qualifications, testing, and pay bands that dictate salaries, the Feds are running out of explanations for the gap. Eleven percent is still better than 19.8%, the overall gap. And, the pay gap is consistent across industries and occupations, according to the latest research by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Let’s line up the dots.

  • Women carried households through the recession.
  • Women make less money, especially in private industry.
  • Women are going to be crowding into private industry from the shrinking public sector.
  • Where women make less.

Sounds to me like a setup for the resuscitation of the Paycheck Fairness Act, and that is precisely what is happening.

Maybe this time the act will be correctly cast as a family economic stability act, not an entitlement for women. As though we all need a third shift: fighting for the right to get what we earned in the first shift.

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