Originated in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity, Equal Pay Day calls attention to the gap between the wages of men and women. While recent data from the PEW Research Center shows that much progress has been made, with the pay gap narrowing from 36 cents in the 1980s to 16 cents today, the fact that a gap still exists amongst men and women who do the same work is proof that the fight for equality continues.
Below are four facts that prove why the fight for equal pay in the workplace is far from over.
1. Women are nearly twice as likely to retire in poverty than men: According to a Congressional analysis of Census data, disparities in pay affect women beyond just their working years. The data shows that women 65 years and older rely on an average median income of $16,000, which is roughly $11,000 less than men who are the same age.
2. Senate Republicans rejected 2014 equal pay bill: Just last year, Democrats were unable to get a single GOP vote in favor of the Paycheck Fairness Act of 2014 that would make it illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who inquire about their wages or the wages of other employees.
3. Black women with bachelor’s degrees earn less than white men with an associate’s: When looking at the pay gap from not only a gender standpoint but also a racial standpoint, the statistics are even more alarming for black women. According to a recent report released by the Black Women’s Roundtable, black women with a bachelor’s degree earn on average $10,000 less than white men with an associate’s degree. In fact, it would take nearly two black female college graduates to earn the same amount as a white male college graduate.
4. Black women also trail behind black men in earnings: According to the Black Women’s Roundtable report, amongst high school dropouts, black men earn nearly twice as much as black women.
To make a difference in helping close the wage gap, head to the Library of Congress website to get info on how you can contact your House Representatives and Senators to tell them how important fair pay is to you.