Next Tuesday, April 28, is Equal Pay Day, which marks the point in 2009 when the average woman’s wages finally catch up with what the average man was paid in 2008. That’s right — it takes us almost sixteen months to be paid as much as men were paid in a year. Equal Pay Day is an opportunity to reflect on the movement for pay equity — and the impact of unfair pay.
Women are still paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to men. And the gap is even more substantial when race and gender are considered together. White, non-Hispanic women are paid 81 cents for every dollar paid to men — still not equality, but moving incrementally closer. However, African-American women are paid only 69 cents, and Hispanic women are paid 59 cents for every dollar paid to men.
Earlier this year, in a major victory for the pay equity movement, President Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps to ensure that individuals subjected to unlawful pay discrimination are able to challenge their employers’ decisions to pay them less. Of course, while the bill’s passage was a critical step forward, the fight for pay equity is far from over. The next legislative step will be passing the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would provide tools necessary to give new teeth to equal pay laws and provide incentives for businesses to follow the law in the first place. The bill has already passed the House, and is currently pending in the Senate.
We hope you’ll join some of our NWLC staff experts this Sunday night at 10 p.m. Eastern for this week’s Twittercast, when we’ll talk more about pay equity for women and what the wage gap really means. Plus, on Tuesday, you’re invited to join in Blog for Fair Pay Day by blogging, tweeting, or posting to Facebook about fair pay for women. And for more background information on pay equity and the Paycheck Fairness Act, go to www.nwlc.org/fairpay.