(Are we really still dealing with this sh#t?)
This year, Women’s Equal Pay Day falls on March 24th marking the day into the year on which it takes for women to earn what men did in 2019. That’s 15 months!
Women, on average, are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to a man for the same work. (It’s much worse for Black, Native American and Latino women).
Here’s another way to look at it: On a typical 9-5 workday, women start working for free at 2:40 pm. And this, my sisters, is not counting the pile of laundry waiting to be washed when you get home at night. When you add up all the unpaid labor in the home, the gender gap is more like a gender chasm.
Still wonder why you’re tired all the time?
Yep. Here we are in 2021 with a female vice president of the United States for Pete’s sake and we’re still dealing with a gender pay gap that is flat out galling.
This is not a day to celebrate (unless you call drinking alone celebrating)
But Equal Pay Day is a day to wrap our heads around the magnitude of the problem and do everything we can to raise consciousness and make a difference.
And keep in mind, gender discrimination doesn’t just happen at work
Gender discrimination can happen at every stage of a woman’s life, from steering her away from science and technology to saddling her with home responsibilities that hinder her ability to work the long hours of demanding professions.
Some facts to ponder tonight… while you’re picking Cap’n Crunch out of the sofa cushions, helping the kids make a volcano out of baking soda and trying to make a nutritious family-pleasing dinner:
- Women, on average, earn 82 cents for every dollar men earn for work of equal value – with an even wider wage gap for women with children. And the wage gap is considerably higher for Black, Native American and Hispanic women (63 cents, 60 cents and 55 cents respectively). This at every educational level.
- The wage gap is also wider for a high-level executives – 74 cents for every dollar their male counterpart makes vs 92 cents at the lower end of the wage distribution. (Likely due to the minimum wage floor).
- Women are concentrated in lower-paid, lower-skill work with greater job insecurity and under-represented in decision-making roles.
- Women carry out at least two and a half times more unpaid household and care work than men.
- Collectively, full-time working women earned an estimated $545.7 billion less that their male counterparts in 2019. That’s about $9,613 per woman – money that might have covered student loan payments, mortgage payments, childcare costs, groceries, etc.
- Women who work in male-dominated occupations are paid significantly less than similarly educated males in those occupations. So even choosing better-paying occupations doesn’t narrow the gap.
- Higher-earning women and middle-age women are at a greater disadvantage relative to their male counterparts.
- The gender wage gap has only closed by 4 cents in more than a decade and even this tiny upward trend has stalled in recent years. At this pace, women will not reach pay parity with men until 2019.
Let’s face it, we’re not going to change the world in a day, but…
While history is often measured by the big moments, the truth is, history is made every day – by people who recognize their efforts matter. So let’s make the most of Equal Pay Day by educating ourselves, getting involved and speaking up for ourselves and our colleagues.
So let’s make some noise! Some thought starters to help make the most of Equal Pay Day:
- Wear RED, the symbolic color of Equal Pay Day. Red symbolizes how far women and minorities are “in the red” with their pay.
- Share your thoughts, activities and stories, use #EqualPayDay.
- Poll your contemporaries at work to find out if they’re getting paid equally for the same job you do. If you find clear evidence of gender bias take it to your union rep or employer and see about getting any imbalances remedied. Got some colleagues who share this issue? Get them involved too! Or better yet, create a movement and make it company (or at least location) wide!
- Get your legislators to PAY ATTENTION. Women need updated, comprehensive equal pay legislation that will strengthen existing protections and further combat discrimination. Only by enacting essential policies like access to paid sick days and a comprehensive paid family and medical leave programs can the US begin to dismantle the patriarchal structures that disadvantage women and their families. You can easily find the contact information for your elected officials online by simply entering your zip code and address.
- Join a union if you have one. Unions not only raise wages for all employees, they also reduce the gender wage gap. Women in unions are paid 31 percent more than their nonunionized sisters and it’s even better for racial and ethnic subgroups.
- Stand together to confront cultural biases that harm women – particularly women of color – that devalue their work and confining them to specific gender roles.
- Are you an employer? If so review your pay policies with a critical eye.