DYK? National Equal Pay Day 2013

Today is National Equal Pay Day 2013. Did you know?

“Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages. Since Census statistics showing the latest wage figures will not be available until late August or September, NCPE leadership decided years ago to select a Tuesday in April as Equal Pay Day. (Tuesday was selected to represent how far into the work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week.) The date also is selected to avoid avoid religious holidays and other significant events.Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.”

“Equal pay for equal work is, and should always have been, common sense. But in 2013 − 50 years after the signing of the Equal Pay Act − true parity is still elusive even though women currently make up nearly half the workforce and their earnings account for a significant portion of household income. By one measure, the gap stands at about 18 cents difference per dollar, a figure based on an approach that uses weekly earnings data. The most common estimate is based on differences in annual earnings, about 23 cents per dollar. Whichever figure you look at, what’s truly troubling is that when women start at a disadvantage, they stay at a disadvantage. Over the course of a woman’s career, those lost wages can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. For women of color, the wage gap is even larger.”

“Women — who make up nearly half of our Nation’s workforce — face a pay gap that means they earn 23 percent less on average than men do. That disparity is even greater for African-American women and Latinas. On National Equal Pay Day, we recognize this injustice by marking how far into the new year women have to work just to make what men did in the previous one. Wage inequality undermines the promise of fairness and opportunity upon which our country was founded. For families trying to make ends meet, that gap can also mean the difference between falling behind and getting ahead.”

  • According to a statement by the U.S. EEOC Chair:

“In 1963, a year before the enactment of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act (EPA) to end wage disparities among employees who performed work requiring substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions. At the time, Congress found that sex-based wage discrimination contributed to underutilization of the labor force and unfair competition. On signing the EPA, President John F. Kennedy said that the EPA “affirms our determination that when women enter the labor force, they will find equality in their pay envelope.”

  • According to a U.S. GAO report on the federal sector gender pay gap:

From 1988 to 2007, the gender pay gap–the difference between men’s and women’s average annual salary in the federal workforce–declined from 28 cents to 11 cents on the dollar. For each year we examined, all but about 7 cents of the gap can be accounted for by differences in measurable factors such as the occupations of men and women and, to a lesser extent, other factors such as years of federal experience and level of education. The pay gap narrowed as men and women in the federal workforce increasingly shared similar characteristics in terms of the jobs they held, their levels of experience, and educational attainment.”

Further Resources:

  • Live Tweet Chat TODAY @ 1:00-2:00 p.m. (ET), sponored by the National Women’s Law Center, with U.S. EEOC Chair Jacqueline Berrien; Jocelyn Samuels, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice; U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD); and Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-3). Hashtags: #TalkPay #EqualPay #WageGap
  • The Equal Pay Act: “The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Job content (not job titles) determines whether jobs are substantially equal. All forms of pay are covered by this law, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, cleaning or gasoline allowances, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for travel expenses, and benefits. If there is an inequality in wages between men and women, employers may not reduce the wages of either sex to equalize their pay.”
  • New Study by the National Partnership for Women & Families: An analysis released for Equal Pay Day shows that the gender-based wage gap is hurting women and families in every single state and every one of the country’s major metropolitan areas. The median yearly pay for women who are employed full time, year round in the United States is $11,084 less than men’s. If the gap were eliminated, women in Seattle could buy an additional 2.3 years’ worth of food. Chicago’s working women could afford 2,700+ more gallons of gas. And women employed full time in New York City could afford seven more months of rent.”

  • What’s your experience with equal pay in employment?
  • Do you receive equal pay for equal work? Should You?


* All views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only.

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