With Tax Day looming, it’s easy to overlook another important mid-April date: Equal Pay Day. Today marks the twentieth time Americans will celebrate Equal Pay Day, which was originated by the National Committee on Equal Pay as a date to raise awareness about the gender wage gap. The date falls in April because it symbolizes how far into the following year women have to work in order to match the earnings of men in the previous year.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’re well informed on the gender wage gap. In the last few weeks alone, we’ve briefed you on the latest numbers from IWPR, the larger gap for women of color, the controversy surrounding public calls for equal pay, and the unique challenges for women in negotiating pay.
Those of you familiar with these issues are probably wondering whether there’s much of anything to “celebrate” today. After all, we still have a long way to go before we reach pay equality in this country. But that’s precisely why it’s important to shine a spotlight on gender inequality, today and every day, until we reach a time when women enjoy the same opportunities, benefits, and pay as their similarly-situated male counterparts.
My approach to celebrating Equal Pay Day is to remind myself what the dollars and cents making up the gender wage gap mean to real working women across the nation. In the debate over statistics and policies, it can be easy to lose sight of how the gender wage gap affects these women and their families.
A great place for this reminder is mywagegap.org, where women talk about how they would spend an extra $11,000 – per the site, closing the wage gap would put an average of $10,900 a year into women’s pockets. Here are some of my favorites:
Happy Equal Pay Day!