"Equal pay for equal work." Sounds good, but is that always fair?
It seems to me that equal pay for equal work is fair if the work truly is 100% equal, and if determining what equal work is is interpreted rather broadly.
Why do I say "broadly"? Because I think most business managers will agree that pay should reflect "value to the company" even more than work output.
What makes an employee valuable to the company? Willingness to 'go the extra mile' would be one thing. Willingness to stay late if needed, or come in on the weekend, for example.
Flexibility is another. Time flexibility as just mentioned would be one example, but also willingness to do what's asked even if it isn't in the job description is another. Willingness to travel when needed, especially on short notice. Willingness to relocate, if needed.
Those things make one valuable to the company.
Agree or disagree?
This is precisely what holds women back
And precisely why you can't just look at what men make and use that as a justification for paying women the same. It's more complicated than that.
The real comparison would be childless career women vs. men not female employees in general vs. men, because women generally will let their family responsibilities—which can include not just children but elderly parents—interfere with their job duties.
In other words, a woman who's willing to make the same sort of choices and commitments that men in the same position make should make the same pay, assuming, of course, that she also produces as well.
That is fair.
Bottom line: Family holds women back.
Choices have consequences, some of them unforeseeable.
You're not actually saying that the consequences are fair, are you? You make it sound like anyone can just turn off the choice whenever they want to, regardless of its animal nature.
Consequences are consequences. Neither fair nor unfair.
I think it's not "fair" to pay women less just because that's been the tradition and wages have traditionally affected business bottom lines. Pure free market isn't necessarily fair, either. An equal pay law is necessary to make all businesses share the responsibility of affirmative action (which I admit is not a politically correct policy to have these days), instead of only the good and caring companies losing business to their less caring competition.
This would be less of an issue if more people had social safety nets in place, and I'm actually more in favor of changing the argument to "having equal health and other living benefits" (e.g. housing) than "having equal pay". That wording alone would boost the standard of living of (say) single moms, and give their kids a better head start in society.
I dated a business major for a little bit. She hated the feminist mantra about women being paid less than men meaning it's sexist. She said it's because women basically suck at negotiating their salaries in interviews. Men are more assertive and come prepared with evidence of other salaries, the ability to look their possible employer right in the face and tell them why they deserve more than the next guy.
It's her view and doesn't make it right just because she is a woman. But it's a different view than mainstream feminism speak about.