Vrinda Jagota
Updated Aug 03, 2016 @ 8:50 am
Credit: 20th Century Fox

It’s so infuriating to think that in 2016, women still face so much discrimination in the workplace that laws literally have to be written reminding employers to pay women equally and treat them like the hard-working, totally capable humans that they are!

Because, DUH, women should be paid equally for equal work.

Sadly, it takes these laws a long, LONG time to catch up on equality. But in better news, one state has taken huge steps in the right direction.

Massachusetts just passed a pay equity law that requires employers to pay men and women equally for equal work.

(Sidenote: Why are we just making this a law now?!)

But when women on average make 79 cents for every dollar that men make, and fill very few top executive positions, legislation like that passed in Massachusetts is absolutely necessary.

It is a huge move forward to breaking the glass ceiling, a phenomenon where women are able to succeed in their jobs to a certain point, but eventually face a “ceiling” or a gender-based discrimination, that is “so subtle that it is transparent, yet so strong that it prevents women from moving up the corporate hierarchy.”

The new law has also prohibited employers from asking job candidates about their salary history. Now, they can only inquire about this information after extending a formal offer that included how much the candidate will be paid at the new position.

This change is also an important one for women. Because they are so often paid less than men, if they are asked about their salary histories during the interview process, employers can get away with paying them less based on their current salaries.

Basically, the new law addresses a self-perpetuating cycle where women are initially paid less and are often not confident enough to ask for raises, and are therefore paid less by future employers, who use their lower salaries to justify paying them less.

These kinds of realities are why we need feminism, and why women like Beyoncé, who assert their importance and value, are so important and inspirational.