4 Things to Remember on Equal Pay Day


Today, March 31st, is Equal Pay Day 2020. On average, women have to work until this day to earn the same salary that men made in the previous year. Overall, women still earn just 81.6 cents for every dollar that men make. Here are four things to keep in mind this Equal Pay Day:

1. The gap isn’t the same for all women.

The wage gap is different for women based on race and ethnicity. Equal Pay Day for Asian American and Pacific Islander women was February 11 (92 cents to a man’s dollar), while the day for Black women is August 13 (62 cents), October 1 for Native American women (57 cents), and October 29 for Latinas (54 cents). The gender gap affects LGBTQ women too – women in same-sex couples have a median personal income of $38,000 compared to $47,000 for men in same-sex couples. These differences stack up, resulting in hundreds of thousands of lost wages over a lifetime.

2. The gap isn’t closing fast enough

A report from the World Economic Forum found that the global gender pay gap won’t close for another 257 years. That’s not until the year 2277. The report found that many jobs held by a high percentage of women are at-risk for automation, and that women are underrepresented in new technology roles and have a high burden of child and sick care work.

Some argue the gender gap isn’t real when controlling for other factors like experience, but even the adjusted figure shows a disparity between men and women. Plus, it’s important to recognize what other gender biases contribute to the inequity. Career choice is often affected by gender, with young women being steered into nurturing roles like teachers and nurses, rather than lucrative STEM fields.

3. Pay discrimination is illegal, and politicians are taking notice

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires employers to pay men and women equally for the same work. While the law has limited enforcement, other measures, like the Paycheck Fairness Act, have recently been introduced in hopes of making equal pay a reality. During the first presidential Democratic debate, candidates were asked the gender pay gap in the workforce, showing that women voters are keeping this issue on the political forefront in 2020.

4. Don’t forget about unpaid labor!

Equal Pay Day only take into account the paid work women do. The New York Times estimates that if American women earned minimum wage for the unpaid work they do, they would have made 1.5 trillion dollars last year. Not only does this work often go unrecognized, employers’ perceptions about mothers and caretakers can result in women being passed up for jobs and promotions, which only makes the wage gap worse.

Equal pay for equal work is simple. Today, let’s recognize the disparities between men and women in the workplace and continue the fight for equality for all women.

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