By 1989, twenty states had implemented programs to raise the wages of workers in female-dominated job classes in their state civil services. A study of these pay equity programs, conducted by the Institute for Women's Policy Research and the Urban Institute, found that all twenty states were successful in closing the female/male wage gap without substantial negative side effects such as increased unemployment. The extent to which the states succeeded depended on many factors including how much money was spent, the proportion of women affected, and the standard to which female wages were raised. As women's responsibilities for their families' wellbeing increase, it is important to explore policies to raise women's wages to levels that are free from discrimination or cultural devaluation. An American woman working full-time year-round in 1992 earned only 71 percent as much as her male counterpart. 1 This represents a substantial increase since 1982 when the wage ratio of female to male earnings was 62 percent. Approximately half of this increase is due to an increase in women's real wages, 2 while the other half is due to a decrease in men's real wages. 3 Despite this considerable advance, the wage gap remains; women still earn less than men even in the same occupations. 4 When different jobs of comparable worth--those requiring similar levels of skill, effort, responsibility, or knowledge--are compared it is even more common to find pay inequities. 5 The persistence of the wage gap compels attention for two ...

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