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.
"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.
- "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."
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.
- Also check out Equal Pay Act Turns 50 (June 2013)
* All views & opinions are those of the author only.