Today is Equal Pay Day April 28, 2009Posted by Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy in Commentary.
Tags: 2nd class citizens, equal pay day, era
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Today, April 28, is 180 days after the end of 2008. But for the average woman to receive the same pay as the average man in 2008, she would have to work until today.
Working women are still paid only 78 cents on average for every dollar earned by the average man. Better than last year, when the average was just over 77 cents, and a lot better than the 59 cents earned by the average woman in the 1963 photo below.
But not good for any woman, and especially not for African American women, who earn on average 66 cents for every male dollar, and not for Hispanic women, who don’t do any better than women as a whole did in 1963–they still make only 59 cents for every male dollar. On average a woman takes home $9,575 less than a man every year, about $434,000 over a lifetime.
What can we do about it? Across the nation, protests and demonstrations are using the dramatic idea of a year extended 180 days to make pay equal across genders to increase awareness of the problem. There are demonstrations at state capitols, hearings, speeches, newspaper editorials.
Here in Washington DC, the House and Senate Joint Economic Committee (JEC) will hold a hearing entitled “Equal Pay for Equal Work? New Evidence on the Persistence of the Gender Pay Gap.” Chaired by Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, the hearing will focus on a report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the gender pay gap in the federal government.
Supporters are also using Equal Pay Day to stimulate support in the Senate for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will close gaps in equal pay legislation that have permitted employers to find excuses not to pay women equally. The House passed the Act at the same time as the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, but the Senate has not yet passed the Paycheck Fairness Act.
Equal Pay Day is not a holiday or a celebration. In fact, if we are successful in gaining gender pay equity, there will never be another year when women have to work into the next year to receive equal pay.
The photo shows President John F. Kennedy signing the Equal Pay Act in 1963, surrounded by those who worked tirelessly to secure its passage.