While women constitute 51 percent of the population of the United States, they experience disparate treatment. There continues to be a gender gap in earnings between men and women. Household income varies dramatically and women, and women-headed households, are more likely to live in poverty. Social work is a female-majority profession and women are the majority of clients served by the profession. Social workers witness and address the consequences of this ongoing discrimination every day. According to Social Work Salaries by Gender, a study completed by the NASW Center for Workforce Studies and Social Work Practice, “The raw difference in average salaries for men and women working full-time in a single social work job was $12,045.”
Enacting pay equity legislation will not only revive the economy; it will address discriminatory wage practices, which create long term effects for women and their families and systematically engender poverty. Wage discrimination means women earn less throughout their lifetimes and are more challenged during retirement. Children are affected when women cannot adequately provide financial resources for their families. NASW supports the Paycheck Fairness Act and other legislative measures focused on narrowing the wage gap.