THEY “do the same work, are exempt from no rules or duties, and most of them have fathers, mothers, sisters or brothers dependent upon them. Why, then, should women not receive the same salaries?” This question was asked in a circular sent by equal-pay suffragettes to female teachers in New York’s public schools in 1905. At the time, teachers’ starting annual salaries were set at $900 for men and $600 for women.
In most rich countries such outright discrimination is history. A woman doing the same job for the same employer earns 98 cents to the dollar paid to a man. Yet the gender pay gap persists. In the OECD, a club of mostly rich countries, the median full-time wage for women is 85% of that for men.