By Jamie Valiente
April 10 is Equal Pay Day, a day that signifies how long, on average, it would take a woman to earn the same amount as what their male counterpart has made in the past year.
America first implemented the Equal Pay Act in 1963 when women used to earn 59 cents for every dollar paid to men. Nowadays, women make 80 cents to a man’s dollar. Although the gap has narrowed, it still exists and it still makes a negative impact on women’s lives. On a broader spectrum, we need to consider the greater inequity present based on a woman’s race with Hispanic women making 54 cents and Black women making 63 cents to a White, non-Hispanic man’s dollar.
This wage gap is not something trivial, it is a real problem that affects women, their families, and their overall quality of life. According to The National Partnership for Women and Families fact sheet (2018), if we close the wage gap, a working woman in the United States, on average, would be approximately be able to afford: Fourteen more months of child care; more than one additional year of tuition and fees for a four-year public university, or the full cost of tuition and fees for a two-year community college; 74 more weeks of food for her family; nearly seven more months of mortgage and utilities payments; more than 10 additional months of rent; or up to 8.7 additional years of birth control. As we can see, women can do so much more for themselves, for their families and for society if the wage gap no longer existed.
To reach this goal of equity, we need to hold our government accountable for their decisions on the wage gap. Moreover, we need to advocate for the success in implementing acts such as the Fair Pay Act that would diminish wage disparities due to gender-based occupational segregation and the Raise the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act that would establish a national paid family and medical leave standard for both women and men. With these acts in mind, women will be more likely to stay in their jobs and advance in the workforce.
It is crucial we also put in our effort to make the right financial decisions to break through the constraints that hinder our success. Powerful Women Rising will be hosting a free financial workshop on Thursday, April 12th at 6:30 p.m. at a Breather space in Santa Monica. It will be led by Tina Oswald, Executive Director of the Gelt Foundation.
This workshop is a great opportunity to learn more about creating a personal budget and ensure you are saving for future emergencies. If you are interested in attending the event, you can sign up to attend here: http://bit.ly/2Han6PE.
You can also take action by telling the EEOC that we need Equal Pay Data Collection.
Let us continue to work for Equal Pay Day to be an everyday reality instead of a reminder of inequity.