Maybe you really don't want your coworkers to know how much you make, but for the sake of pay equality, you should probably get over it, argues Irin Carmon of Salon. Many women are blissfully ignorant of how much less they're making than their male colleagues, she argues, and it's largely because companies discourage or outright forbid their employees to discuss their pay. The Paycheck Fairness Act—set for a Senate vote next week—would prevent them from doing that, but it's being bashed as a "liberal cudgel" and unlikely to pass.
"Women will come to us articulating pregnancy or promotion discrimination claims … anything but pay discrimination," says one lawyer specializing in gender discrimination. "If we ask about their pay, they always say it's OK." Even when it isn't: In one case a company had a female employee testify about how well she'd been treated, only to have it emerge in discovery that she'd been systematically underpaid. Even if the Pay Fairness Act fails, it's time, one policy analyst says, to make wage secrecy "part of the national conversation." Click for Carmon's full column. (Read more wages stories.)