Equal Pay Day is right around the corner, will you be wearing red?

Equal Pay Day is just around the corner on Tuesday, April, 10th. The nationally recognized event falls each year on a Tuesday to signify that women have to work until Tuesday to earn what a man did the previous week and until the month of April, to earn what a man did the previous year. If that isn’t disconcerting, check out these irksome facts about the gender wage gap.

To begin, check out this breakdown of the gender wage gap --

-6.7% Educational Attainment

2.4% Race/ Ethnicity

3.5% Union Status

10.5 % Labor Force Experience

21.9% Industry

27.4% Occupation

41.1% Unexplained

In a victory for women, we are now earning more college degrees than ever before, even more so than men, which has helped to close the gap by almost 7 percent. While that is certainly noteworthy and deserving of champagne all around, (Cheers ladies!) it is perplexing that the most significant reason detailed in the gender gap breakdown is “unexplained” at 41 percent. Unexplained is lazy semantics for no good reason at all. Unexplained is unacceptable. 

Women are earning 79 cents for every dollar that men earn for the same job, amounting to an annual gap reaching $10,762 of lost income. Things I can buy with $10,762 include a 2017 Nissan Versa with only 13,000 miles, braces for both of my twin girls, a year of child care, 14 months of rent based on the US median, or a well-deserved, fabulous two-week vacation to Italy or France with extra for shopping.

According to a report by the American Center for Progress, a woman with her doctoral degree earns the same as a man with his bachelor’s degree. If aging as a woman isn’t challenging enough, the gender gap gets wider by the thousands as women age. Consequently, women have 50% smaller retirement account balances. In a similar study, Stanford University reported women who are mothers especially face discrimination while men who are fathers receive wage premiums.

What are we doing to promote Equal Pay Day?

The National Committee on Pay Equity lists Equal Pay Day activities that have been held all over the US. In Worcester, Massachusetts, there was an event called A Taste of Prosperity, with over 20 participating businesses, some of which gave women a 23% discount, while others donated items for a raffle. In Presque Isle, Maine, female business owners had a 77 Cent Sale, charging women 23% off items while men paid full price. In Miami, women dressed in red to symbolize women are “in the red” regarding their wages, and joined by male friends and colleagues, marched for an hour at noon on Equal Pay Day 2006. Activists for pay equity in Minnesota recognized Equal Pay Day by sponsoring a morning "UnHappy Hour" event, attendees were given 3/4 cups of coffee and received 3/4 of a muffin to symbolize the almost 3/4 of a dollar that women are paid.

What can you do to recognize Equal Pay Day?

*   Throw on your favorite red ensemble and search for local events to attend and invite your friends, coworkers, and maybe even your boss (hint, hint.)
*   Tweet your congress representative to support Fair Pay on Equal Pay Day.
*   Are you a business owner? If so, offer your female customers a 21% discount. Not a business owner? Suggest the idea to your manager.
*   Stay informed by reading about the gender gap and sharing information with your friends. There is a wealth of information out there and the more informed we are, the better activists we will be.

Women have made great strides since the days we marched as Suffragettes, to today now having held The Women's March, the largest and most successful protest globally, with millions of participants two years in a row. Whenever you are doubting our activism's effectiveness remember the women who protested in 1920, fighting for and successfully obtaining our vote. We may never earn exactly what men do for the same job in our lifetimes, but with continued persistence and standing stronger together, our daughters and granddaughters will likely earn the same wage a man does for the same job, just as they deserve.