Today is Equal Pay Day — a day to think about the wage gap, and how it affects women, families and the country.
Equal Pay Day is April 20th, because that’s the day we mark for how long it takes for the wages paid to women working full-time, beginning in January 2009, to finally catch up to the wages that were paid to full-time working men in 2009. In other words, a woman has to work for nearly four months in 2010 for her wages to equal to what a man was paid in 2009.
In this recession, with families facing crushing economic pressure, Equal Pay Day has special meaning. Women’s earnings are more vital than ever to the economic security of their families. Nearly four in ten mothers are primary breadwinners, bringing home the majority of their family’s earnings. Nearly two-thirds are breadwinners or co-breadwinners, bringing home at least a quarter of their family’s earnings. Yet a woman has to work nearly four months longer than a man to bring home the same amount of pay.
The wage gap hurts working women and families each and every day, cutting deeply into their ability to meet basic needs. If we got rid of the wage gap, here’s what hard-working families across the country would be able to afford:
In Maine: 65 more weeks of food (that’s food for 1.25 years!)
In California: 7 months of rent payments
In Virginia: 7 months of mortgage and utility payments
In Arkansas: 3 years of family health care premiums
In North Carolina: more than 3,000 gallons of gas
To see how the wage gap affects women and families in your state, click here.
To help fix the pay gap, we need Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. It would make it harder for employers to hide pay discrimination, help train women and girls about salary negotiation, support government collection of critical wage data, and reward employers that have good pay practices.
The House of Representatives passed it last year, but a vote of 256 to 163. The Administration supports this bill. It’s time for the Senate to act.
Join us in urging the Senate to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act now. Women have rent to pay, and food and gasoline to buy. Our bills won’t wait, and neither can we!