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Comparable worth seeks to bridge the compensation gap between genders. This controversial topic is hotly debated and has staunch supporters on either side. Comparable worth supports value-based pay systems to achieve gender-pay parity. Its purpose is to eliminate gender pay discrimination and implement it on local levels. Supporters believe using these more-customized methods can also enliven impoverished communities.
Comparable worth seeks to level the playing field of compensation between genders. The reform effort, also called “pay equity,” compensates different job titles the same based on their value to each employer without respect to gender dominance in a particular field. For example, a company that pays its predominantly male truck drivers more than its female secretaries despite a larger number of drivers seeking work and shortage of secretaries, worth would develop and enforce a customized gender-neutral pay system under comparable.
Value-Based Pay Systems
Pay equity can restore wage imbalances. College-educated women can lose up to $1.2 million over a lifetime of work (47 years of full-time work), according to economist Evelyn Murphy. Value-based pay systems would be customized to reflect a company’s need for an occupation as the dominant compensation influencer and not market-based pay rates alone. Comparable worth supporters believe this would encourage individuals currently suppressed by lower pay.
Comparable worth attempts to revalue women-dominated occupations on a local level. It seeks to create a level playing field by assessing jobs based on economic-based evaluation systems. Advocates believe that this can and should be done on a local level with each company, and it won’t require heavy-handed regulations, such as a national wage-setting system. The potential result is a gender-neutral pay system more sensitive to company needs within a particular region or locale.
Comparable worth also can help reduce reliance on government assistance programs. A study found that “nearly 40 percent of working women could leave welfare programs if they were to receive pay-equity-wage increases,” according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. Proper implementation of this value-based system can revitalize certain impoverished communities through the self-empowered economic development of its women workforce.