Pay equity deals with people having the right to receive equal pay for equal work (position level and time spent on the job). Historically, one reason women were paid less than men is because it was believed that men were main providers of their family and women were working just to supplement the family's income.
I agree that the biggest problem in pay equity is unequal pay for men and women, but there is another growing problem. There are a number of companies that are beginning to hire only part time workers. Often the workers have the label part time, but they work just under full time hours. The company gets a few less hours, but pays a much lower salary and saves a ton in not paying benefits.
The National Committee on Pay Equity states that the concept of pay equity seeks to eliminate discrimination in setting wages. They believe that women and people of color are segregated into specific jobs that are undervalued and underpaid because of the people who hold them.
"Pay equity" is the absence of wage discrimination based upon age or sex. In other words, (1) men and women earn the same wage or salary for the same work done or for comparable positions held; (2) young adult workers and elder adult workers earn the same for the same work done or for comparable positions held as adults in their prime. Pay equity can be summarized by the slogan "equal pay for equal work" regardless of age or sex; some extend the definition to a broader range of inclusions like race and religion.
So, essentially, there are two components to pay equity. One would be that men and women receive the same pay for the same work, given equal experience, performance, etc. It would seem that we are close to having achieved this, and in any case it is illegal for employers to do otherwise. The other component would be that men are disproportionately represented in high-paying, managerial jobs (and that women are disproportionately represented in low paying jobs like the ones mentioned in post #4.) I think we are further from having achieved this.
Pay equity came about in order to insure that the pay gap between men and women was addressed. The idea that a specific duty should insure a specific pay, regardless of gender is where the idea of pay equity came from. While the ideology behind pay equity is good, it has not yet put an end to the fact that there are still places where men make more than women (for the same job "completed").
Pay equity is the idea of equal pay for equal work. It is generally used when talking about the gap in pay between men and women. There is a large gap in average pay between men and women in the United States. Many people feel that there need to be policies put in place to create greater pay equity.