April 12th recognizes National Equal Pay Day. It should really be called National Unequal Pay Day because, as you’ve heard before, on average, full-time working women earn 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. April 12th is the date we mark Equal Pay Day because a woman would have to work over 100 days – or until April 12th – the following year to make the same amount a man makes in the previous year. For women of color and women who have children the wage gap is even greater. For instance, on a yearly basis, African American women will earn $18,650 less and Latinas will earn $24,111 less than their male counterparts.
We cannot sit back and ignore these embarrassing discrepancies for the simple reason that every person who works hard should have the chance to get ahead – opportunity is built on this very idea. Women’s economic empowerment – that is, their capacity to bring about economic change for themselves – is increasingly viewed as the most important contributing factor to achieving equality between women and men. Our families and communities do best when all people are able to share in, and access the opportunities typically available to men.
A large contributor to pay inequity (and a compelling reason to institute paid family leave policies) is the fact that women are more likely to take time off from the workforce to plan for and have families. The wage gap, however, is not solely dependent on the difficulties women face transitioning in and out of the workplace. There is an unexplainable difference in the earnings of male and female college graduates when you account for all factors known to affect pay even just one year after college graduation. Clearly, the wage gap exists and is ultimately the result of blatant gender-based discrimination.
Pay equity is not just a matter of fairness, but the key to families’ ability to make ends meet. Wage discrimination limits women’s choices and has real, long-lasting consequences. The wage gap impairs women’s ability to buy homes and pay for a college education, and limits their total lifetime earnings, thereby reducing their retirement savings and benefits. It limits their future, and it also hurts the people they provide for. Today, women are breadwinners in more than half of all households — 49 million children depend on women’s salaries. But our economy and our policies have not caught up to this reality.
Bottom line: Wage inequality affects us all, and each of us must do more to make certain that women are full and equal participants in our economy. At the current rate, some estimate the wage gap will not close for more than another century.
Can you wait for over 100 years for fair pay? We sure can’t, and we won’t. With your help, we will make wage discrimination a thing of the past.
With New York State’s Equal Pay Act, we help women every day fight for equal pay.
The Women’s Equality Act signed by Governor Cuomo in October went into effect in January of 2016. Significantly, these bills amend New York State’s equal pay, sex discrimination, harassment and other laws to provide additional protections for women in and outside the workplace. Among other changes, the amendments make it more difficult for employers to justify paying men and women differently for the same or similar work and prohibit employers from having a restriction against asking about, discussing or disclosing wages.
With your contribution, we can continue to fight for equal pay by pushing forward favorable legislation, such as the Paycheck Fairness Act, litigating to enforce New York State’s Equal Pay Act amendments and fighting against gender stereotyping that plays a crucial role in undermining equal pay for women.
Will you help us close the wage gap? Give just $22 to represent the 22% that women lag in annual earnings – Feeling generous? Contribute $222 or give what you can to join the fight for fair pay!
Help support on the Federal level what New Yorkers have. The Paycheck Fairness Act is critical legislation that would make proving a wage disparity case easier, while creating more transparency in the workplace between men and women’s earnings. It would also support women challenging being paid less without fear of losing their jobs. This law would help combat and undo discriminatory practices that plague our workplaces more than 50 years after the Equal Pay Act became law.
Tell Congress to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act