What do you know about “Equal Pay Day”?

Equal Pay Day is the day in any given year when women working full-time, year-round catch up to men’s earnings from the previous year. April 4th is Equal Pay Day for 2017, because women on average make 80% of what men make. However, the reality is that the wage gap is even greater for most women of color. ” African-American women’s wages won’t catch up to men’s 2016 earnings until July 31, Native American women until September 25, and Latina women until November 2, according to the ACLU in “Working Women, Your Paycheck Has Been Trapped in a Time Warp,4/4/17. Mom’s are penalized too – Equal Pay Day for moms arrives in late May this year. Even celebrating Equal Pay Day on Tuesday is significant. Tuesday was selected to represent how far into the next work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week! More here about myths on women’s pay, and what can be done to make pay more fair. 

In “Shortchanged: Gender and race discrimination in the workplace, and how to fix it,” 4/3/17, NC Policy Watch Blog, Women’s March On Raleigh organizer Shana Becker wrote, 

“[T]he old argument about [women making less money because of] taking time off for children is just that – an old argument. Whether women teach, nurse, or are lawyers, doctors and CEOs-they earn less than men. Discrimination is still a factor-a big one-in the gender wage gap. At this rate, the gap is not projected to close, depending on where you live, until 2040 or later according to the Washington Post.”

Becker continues, “The wage gap does not depend on education and strikes almost every industry. As Forbes magazine recently reported, “Women with doctoral degrees are paid less than men with master’s degrees—and women with master’s are paid less than men with bachelor’s degrees.” Similarly, from middle-age women janitors (who are paid 63% less than middle-aged men janitors) to women cardiologists (who are paid 29% less than male cardiologists), women are paid less than men for the same work.”

And Donald Trump makes this worse for women.

With little notice, President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order that advocates say rolls back hard-fought victories for women in the workplace.

“On March 27, Trump revoked the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order then-President Barack Obama put in place to ensure that companies with federal contracts comply with 14 labor and civil rights laws. The Fair Pay order was put in place after a 2010 Government Accountability Office investigation showed that companies with rampant violations were being awarded millions in federal contracts, ” according to “Trump Pulls Back Obama-Era Protections For Women Workers,” 4/3/17, NBCnews.com.

The article continues, “In an attempt to keep the worst violators from receiving taxpayer dollars, the Fair Pay order included two rules that impacted women workers: paycheck transparency and a ban on forced arbitration clauses for sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination claims.”

Donald Trump Revokes Order That Protects Women in the Workplace,” 4/4/17, jezebel.com, we find “Trump’s signature also ends a company’s obligation to submit data about employee compensation to the government, so the cloaking devices have been activated on all fronts. “

The NBCnews article also talks about problems with arbitration hiding workplace problems which people need to know. This issue was discussed at the “Sharing Our Stories” event in Durham on 3/31/17.

Things to do – publicize the inequity! Educate friends, schools, organizations! Share articles and videos on this issue. Have you seen this yet? “Gender Pay Gap Video Shows What Life Is Like When Women Get 20% Less… Of Everything.”

Take action on national legislation, like the Paycheck Fairness Act. Per Becker’s article,

“Right now, the Paycheck Fairness Act is pending before Congress. It targets loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and civil rights laws that were meant to stop discrimination and close the wage gap, but didn’t. Among other things, it requires employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons, and it protects employees against retaliation for discussing salaries with colleagues. Also, it creates a salary negotiation skills training program for women and girls.” Definite improvements.

Research suggests “A New Way to Close the Gender Pay Gap,” and this may be simpler.

“There’s a growing bipartisan consensus that a simple change in the hiring process — prohibiting employers from asking job seekers how much they’re currently paid — can make a real difference in closing the gender wage gap. Instead, salary offers should be based on the market value of the position and the candidate’s credentials, not their current salary.”

Read more about the current hiring process and why this fix may address how business practices perpetuate the wage gap at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/03/29/new-way-close-gender-pay-gap.

Women would certainly benefit from receiving equal pay for equal work. And so would anyone depending on them, like children, parents, partners, and communities.

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