Studying women's figures

Thursday - 4/24/2014, 2:00am EDT

Anybody who has spent any time in and around the federal government knows there are lots of men who spend a lot of time studying women's figures. And get paid for doing it!

Uncle Sam is the largest single employer in the U.S., and as such employs more men and more women than even Wal-Mart.

While federal agencies are constantly being urged to operate in a business-like manner, the government often launches cutting-edge programs and often operates like the best of the best in the private sector. Example: Take a look at what a tiny federal agency, DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) has been up to, including projects leading to the GPS and the Internet itself.

But handling people, getting the most out of them while treating them with respect, can be tougher than a tough engineering problem. For instance...

Pay equity has been an issue ever since women entered the labor force in large numbers. Starting with World War II, then again in the 1970s when oil-driven living costs forced many women into the workforce.

In many cases, jobs dominated by women — clerical and administrative in the '30s, '40s and '50s — were assigned lower pay grades than were jobs in large part by men. Some changes were made under the "equal worth" banner.

Groups working to upgrade the status of women in government cite numbers showing men outnumber women by a wide margin at top-pay levels. The percentage of women vs. men governmentwide (excluding the Postal Service) has remained fairly constant. In 2005, there were 1,036,868 men and 824,033 women. A percentage breakdown of 55.7 to 44.3. In the last few years, the number and percentage of men has increased slightly. In 2012, the breakdown was 1,150,997 men and 892,334 women, or a 56.3 percent to 43.7 percent.

At the higher pay grades, though, women aren't doing so well. At the GS-14 level, the breakdown in 2005 was 33.9 percent women and 66.1 percent male. Last year it was 38.6 percent to 61.4 percent.

In 2005, women held 28.8 percent of GS-15 jobs. By last year, that had grown to 35.8 percent.

On yesterday's Your Turn radio show, Janet Kopenhaver, the Washington representative for Federally Employed Women, crunched the numbers and outlined what the government — as in White House — needs to do to make pay equity a reality. To listen to that program, click here.

Meantime, an FAA employee says that not all feds are protected by the equal pay GS system. She writes:

If you are working for the FAA, not all people are paid under the GSsystem. There are many of us who are in "core comp," which affectively freezes our pay. There are no step increases, etc. It is a "pay-for-performance" which sounds great, but robs the worker a pay increase.

If you are not buddy-buddy with your supervisor, no pay increase for the year. If your supervisor decides not to give you an assignment or any work, no pay raise. The system is rigged, and it is a corrupt system. Defense got rid of their pay-for-performance plan because they realized how bad it was.

Yet, the FAA hangs on to this so the senior managers can get bonuses from the money it saves from the lower paid employees. Take a look at a woman on core comp vs. a man and see who gets the pay raise each year.


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

Compiled by Jack Moore

The U.S. Mint made pennies out of steel in 1943 to save copper for the military. However, the steel cent pieces were frequently mistaken for dimes. Since 1983, pennies produced by the Mint are 97.5 percent zinc with only a thin copper coating.

(Source: Slate)


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