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National Equal Pay Day Retrospective: White House to EEOC

President John F. Kennedy signed the landmark Equal Pay Act back in 1963 (pictured above in an Oval Office signing ceremony).

Yet more than half a century later there remains a persistent gender-based pay gap for women workers compared to men. The good news, if any, is that female feds earn more on the dollar, on average, than do their private sector counterparts.

The gender wage gap is double for women in the private sector (about 23-cents on the dollar) versus that of female feds (about 11-cents on the dollar), according to a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

However, women are still being short changed regardless of the sector in which they work. This is simply unacceptable in the 21st century workplace.

Below are excerpts from a Presidential Proclamation and a statement from Chair Jacqueline Berrien of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued earlier today in observance of National Equal Pay Day 2014.

Presidential Proclamation

  • “Women make up nearly half of our Nation’s workforce and are primary breadwinners in 4 in 10 American households with children under age 18. Yet from boardrooms to classrooms to factory floors, their talent and hard work are not reflected on the payroll.”

  • “Today, women still make only 77 cents to every man’s dollar, and the pay gap is even wider for women of color.”

  • Over her lifetime, the average American woman can expect to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars to the earnings gap, a significant blow to both women and their families.”

  • “In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, we must use all of America’s talent to its fullest potential — because when women succeed, America succeeds.”

  • Also check out White House Blog & Infographic.

Statement by EEOC Chair

  • “The average woman has to work approximately 15 months – more than 90 days into 2014 – to match what her male counterpart earned in 12 months of 2013.”
  • “In 1963, the gender pay gap stood at 59 cents on the dollar – that is, women earned 59 cents for every dollar a man earned. In the first two decades after the EPA’s passage, the gender wage gap narrowed significantly, but progress has since stagnated.”
  • “At the rate we’re going, it will be another 50 years before we eliminate the gender pay gap. The nation cannot afford to wait that long.”

  • “Throughout the United States, the EEOC is working to ensure that men and women are paid equally for their work in the same jobs, and to enforce the anti-retaliation provisions that protect workers who assert their rights under the law.”
  • As we commemorate Equal Pay Day 2014, I look forward to the day when the gender pay gap is relegated to the history books and there will no longer be a need to observe the date when women’s earnings catch up to men’s.”

My Take…

Devaluing women’s work is a travesty and a tragedy, especially in a nation which prides itself on equality for all.

Nevertheless, for tens of millions of working women nationwide, the day when the infamous gender pay gap is eliminated cannot come soon enough.

Until that day arrives, we should all be mindful every day of the year that women in the workplace — or any place — deserve equal justice and equal opportunity under the law.

Anything less would defy the morals and principles at the foundation of the American Dream.


* All views & opinions are those of the author only.

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David B. Grinberg

FYI, OPM today issued a new comprehensive report on equal pay in the federal sector entitled,”Government-wide Strategy on Advancing Equal Pay“. In addition, check out EEOC’s fact sheet: Q&A on the Equal Pay Act.

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta writes in her blog today:

  • “According to our comprehensive, in-depth review of 37 white-collar Federal job categories, in 2012, women were paid 87 cents for every dollar that a man was paid. In 1992, women in the Federal workforce made just 70 cents on the dollar.”

  • “This is a significant improvement over the past 20 years. In fact, when we looked at individual occupations and pay grades, we found that men and women in many occupations make comparable pay. We also found that there was greater pay equity in occupations and grade levels across Federal white-collar employment.”

  • “We have a clear guiding principle in Federal law: Federal employees must be paid equal pay for equal work. And that’s a standard that we are committed to reaching across the federal government.”

David B. Grinberg

Check out President Obama’s weekly address to the nation (video).

  • According to the White House: I”n this week’s address, the President underscores the importance of ensuring equal pay for equal work and highlights the steps his Administration has taken to expand opportunity and narrow the pay gap that exists between men and women.”

David B. Grinberg

FYI – The Wage Gap in DC, as reported by National Journal:

Why Do Washington’s Women Leaders Make Less?

  • “Yet even as the government takes steps to reduce the pay disparity nationwide, the gender gap remains a reality at the highest-paying jobs at Washington’s top trade associations, professional societies, think tanks, labor unions, and public-interest groups. Men overwhelmingly hold more of the top jobs—and they’re better paid for their efforts.”
  • “Women made up just 22 percent of the 644 current and former CEOs in the survey. And those female executives were generally paid less than their male counterparts. No women were among the 25 highest-paid executives on the list; only five women landed in the top 50; and just 13 women were in the top 100.”