Equal pay for equal work … it’s a concept that has long been disputed in American employment law. Did you know that it wasn’t started by women advocating for equal pay, but by unions fighting for equal wages for men? When soldiers went off to fight World War II and women worked their jobs to keep the U.S. economy functioning, the National War Labor Board urged employers to pay women the same wages as their male counterparts. Because, however, most companies did not heed this advice, men returning from war worried that their jobs would be permanently taken by the cheaper women’s labor force. In response, unions stepped in to try to stop employers from undercutting men’s wages. The concept of equal pay grew out of these circumstances, and has since been equated to lower wages paid to women. What ensued after a decades-long fight was the Equal Pay Act of 1963, signed into the nation’s employment laws by President John F. Kennedy.