Guest post by our self-proclaimed “Compensation Geek” Meghann Bedell, hermetically sealed to guarantee freshness.

Equal means equal,” she said. “The truth of it is the older an actress gets, the less money she makes. It’s inexcusable that we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and yet…we don’t have equal rights for women in America. It’s time for all the women in America and all the men who love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve fought for, to fight for us now.” – Patricia Arquette

Equal pay for women, how long have we been hearing about this issue?  It seems to be a political hot topic every four years and it tends to get people on both sides of the aisle equally stirred up. It even received a special mention at the Oscars!  There’s even a special White House webpage where any woman can go to read about how the government is on her side.

Now let’s take a step back and really look into this issue.  If it’s important enough for an Academy Awards acceptance speech, then it’s probably important to know about.

We will start way back to 1963 when John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act, which makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate with regards to pay.  This law is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and violations could potentially result in large penalties and fines.

Now fast-forward 50 years, and we are still talking about the same issues.  Lets look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and their most recent stats on women’s earnings.  The National 2014 Data takes a look at the entire nation’s wage information. When looking at these stats please notice the focus on the following sub categories: Race and Ethnicity, Educational Status, Age and Marital Status.

This information is interesting because only one point matches to what is truly reviewed when looking at compensation for an employee.   The categories that we review when completing a compensation analysis are the following: Years of Experience, Education, Certifications, and Military Service. The only matching aspect from the National Data is the Education level.

What is missing in this analysis is a breakdown in the types of jobs that the people are in and how many years of experience they have in relation to the specific job. Years of experience is calculated the same for both men and women.  The National Data, however, does not mention anything about years of experience.

They do, however, include age, gender, and marital status. Is that strange? Why would the data that is used by our government and politicians include those aspects?  Could it be that they are trying to use data to sway your opinion?

Or, maybe Patricia Arquette should have mentioned what Ethan Hawke was paid for his role in the movie?