Equal Pay Day: Because Women Make $.79 For Every Dollar Men Make
Today marks the 20th year since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Today, President Barack Obama officially proclaimed April 12th as National Equal Pay Day and announced that a national monument is set to unveil in order to seek increased attention to the pay inequalities in the United States, and push for women’s equality rights.
The non-holiday is commemorated annually with the reality: Women make $.79 cents to every dollar men make. It is even lower for minority women!
A report from the U.S. Congress Joint Committee indicates that at the current rate of change, the gender pay gap will not close until 2059. Until it does, women are expected on average to earn about $10,800 less per year than men, based on median annual earnings. However, the $.79 cents per dollar is not a fair indicator of the actual gap between ALL women. Black Women make $.60 cents and Hispanic women make $.55 cents for every dollar that men make. Taking age into account, the gap grows wider as women get older. On average, the consensus found that women will lose out on $400,000 over the course of their careers, and for minority women it is almost double that.
Just last Wednesday, the Women’s U.S. National Soccer Team players filed a Equal Pay Lawsuit. Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Hope Solo and Becky Saunderbrun all seek a fair/equal pay as their male counterparts. Each player on the U.S. Women’s National Team earns $99,000 per year provided that the team win 20 “friendly” games. By contrast, each men’s player would earn $263.320 for the same and would earn $100,000 if the team lost all 20 games. “The numbers speak for themselves,” said goalkeeper Hope Solo, “We are the best in the world, have three World Cup championships, four Olympic championships.” “[The men’s soccer team players] get paid more to just show up than we get paid to win major championships.”
President Barack Obama’s initiative to force companies to disclose pay data by signing onto the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, will force companies to become more transparent and allow for female employees to earn and bargain their contracts knowing their male counterparts salaries. Some Fortune 500 companies such as: Salesforce, Amazon, Intel, Gap and Facebook are taking more aggressive stances when it comes to transparency and already disclosing pay salaries and engaging in conversations where they have agreed to have no gender gap between male and female employees.
As females, there are small actions that we can take to battle the pay wage gap:
- First, The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work in the same establishment. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. It is job content, not job titles, that determines whether jobs are substantially equal.
- When applying for a job, check websites such as glassdoor.com, and check for the minimum and average salary for your position.
- Always attempt to negotiate your contract, regardless if the offer seems fair.
- If you suspect or believe that your employer is not paying you in accordance to the Equal Pay Act, contact a qualified attorney.
Remember, it is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing discriminatory employment practices, for filing a discrimination charge, testifying or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding or litigation under Title VII, ADEA, ADA or the Equal Pay Act.
Today is a day to recognize that in 2016 wage discrimination still affects millions of exceptional and hard-working women. It is a day to reaffirm that this injustice must continue to be battled and ultimately overcome.
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By: Daniela Carrion