The moral dimension of feminist theories: Implications for pay equity

Paula England, Linda Markowitz

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Comparable worth is an increasingly salient public policy issue in the United States. Yet, there is still misunderstanding about what comparable worth is and disagreement within the feminist community about why it should exist. The purpose of this chapter is twofold: First, to explain what comparable worth is, we define the most common implementation of comparable worth, the point factor system. Explaining the point factor system shows under what conditions and to what extent comparable worth will reduce the sex gap in pay. Our description reveals that point factor systems can be implemented in more or less radical ways, either to challenge the very definition of skill, or more modestly to enhance women’s position within the already existing defmition. Second, we analyze how more or less radical approaches to implementing comparable worth relate to the distinctions between three broad feminist paradigms: liberal feminism, Socialist/Marxist feminism, and radical/cultural feminism. We conclude that the three paradigms do not differ so much in whether or not to endorse the idea of comparable worth; rather, they differ in their normative recommendations of how to implement a pay equity scheme. Thus, we see that the most philosophical and normative questions about this debate are closely linked with particulars of implementation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationMacro Socio-economics
    Subtitle of host publicationFrom Theory to Activism: From Theory to Activism
    PublisherTaylor and Francis
    Number of pages24
    ISBN (Electronic)9781315481401
    ISBN (Print)9781563246517
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
    • General Business, Management and Accounting
    • General Social Sciences


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