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Equal Pay Day

- by Corbin McVeigh

April 17 marked Equal Pay Day, when women and men across America joined to demand their representatives in Congress bring an end to the practice of paying unequal and unfair wages.

The day of action began with a briefing in the U.S. Senate from organizations that constitute the Fair Pay Coalition. Some of the groups present for the briefing include the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the American Association of University Women, the National Women’s Law Center, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The panelists spoke about the history and effects of unfair pay that persists nationwide. In America, women who work the same hours in the same positions as men earn on average $0.77 for every $1.00 earned by men. That gap accounts for almost $11,000 per year in earnings, leaving millions of hardworking women struggling to get by.

The numbers grow far worse when looking at the disparity for women who are ethnic minorities. For example, Hispanic women earn only $0.54 for every $1.00 earned by men.

These wage gaps cannot be tolerated. With 40% of households relying on women as the primary earners and wages continuing to be unfairly allotted, a change must occur soon. With support from President Obama and the continued support from the public, these groups are working hard to bring fairness to America’s workplaces.

The movement has a strong foundation and looks to be moving in the right direction with important and well-received events such as last week’s panel. There are some great online resources on these efforts from AAUW and IWPR.