Readers React

Close the male-female nursing pay gap now

To the editor: I suspected that there was pay inequality in nursing, but having it verified by a study is quite disturbing. We have a "super nurse" in the family and have always been thankful for the great care and compassion received from nurses, previously mostly female and recently some males. ("Is a male nurse worth $5,148 more than a female nurse?," March 24)

It is time for everyone to take action. Instead of forcing female nurses to form a new union or otherwise fight for equal pay, all employers must raise their wages to be equal to those of males. That, or the males — seeing that it is not fair for them to be standing on the shoulders of so many underpaid, overworked women, the pioneers of this noble profession — must show solidarity with their female colleagues and ask for their wages to be lowered.

We can and must rectify this now.

Margot Eiser, Montebello

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To the editor: Equal pay for the same job title and experience is a must. But what if male nurses, instead of female nurses, are recruited by hospitals for their ability to lift and restrain patients?

It's much easier to draw black-and-white conclusions that this study on wage inequality in nursing is further evidence of a real gap. But in practice, institutions keep a mix of individuals with unique strengths under the same job titles to create the best team.

My son is in nursing school and he has been punched by a mentally ill patient and been asked to restrain and lift patients almost exclusively because he is a large male. He has also been told he will be paid a premium for this ability because it's a needed skill set for a percentage of nurses.

With regard to teachers, comparisons of male and female pay should define market forces that again financially reward a specific skill set with better pay. Male teachers may also more likely be coaches of higher-profile sports teams.

Julia Kelly, Laguna Beach

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To the editor: Other than for reasons regarding education, work experience and clinical specialty, male nurses shouldn't earn one penny more than females. Males are no more intelligent, nor do they work any harder or do a better job. Yet there is a consistent gender pay gap between males and females.

What we need is a pay-equality bill. And the only way to get any action is for women to vote only for those legislators who support equal pay and are willing to pass such a bill.

Women are a driving force in the economy, with surging numbers in the workplace. It's time to stop discriminating against them.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater, Fla.

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