Today is National Equal Pay Day, the day into 2019 that women on average have to work until to earn the same amount earned by their male counterparts in 2018 alone. The National Committee on Pay Equity uses this day to highlight the wage inequality that still exists in the United States.
The 2018 statistics on the wage gap found that women in part-time and full-time positions made 85% of their male co-workers, meaning that women have to work an extra 39 days into 2019 to match what men made in 2018. However, this statistic represents the average for all women regardless of race. Black Women’s equal pay day isn’t until August 22nd, Native American Women’s payday isn’t until September 23rd and Latin American women’s equal pay day isn’t until November 20th. These statistics showcase the real disparities that exist among all women, as Equal Pay Day alone does not tell the whole story.
In 2018, one in four women still reports they make less than a male-coworker for doing the exact same job. However, this is only part of the reason the pay gap still exists. Pew Research Center attributes the pay gap to other factors as well such as educational attainment, occupational segregation, and work experience.
The wage gap also increases with age; full-time workers age 25 and 34 see only an 87% pay gap, while women between 55 and 64 make 75% of their male counterparts. This difference can likely be explained by the difference in educational attainment between generations, as well as gender discrimination that has prevented promotions for women.
While strides have been made to close the gender pay gap, there is clearly more to be done. Equal Pay Day should raise awareness for all women who suffer different pay gaps, as well as highlight the educational, occupational and policy gaps that exist as barriers to pay equality. On Wednesday, the Paycheck Fairness Act, also known as H.R. 7, passed the U.S. House of Representatives, with a final vote of 242-187 that included seven Republicans. The bill must pass the Senate and be signed by the President to become law.
Media: Equal Pay 2019; Times 2019; Pew Research 2019; Feminist Newswire 3/28/19