A Push for Pay Equality

Pay equity will grow the economy and drive more inclusive, stronger and sustainable economic growth
May 2, 2024
A Push for Pay Equality

March 12, 2024 was Equal Pay Day — a day recognized annually that is meant to bring public awareness to the gap between men’s and women’s wages. Originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 and originally called National Pay Inequity Awareness Day, Equal Pay Day represents the date into the current year women must work in order to earn the same amount as the average man the previous year. Take a look at the following facts and statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Labor to gain a better understanding of what exactly this means: 

  • On average, women working full-time, year-round are paid 84% of what men are paid. This also applies to all major race and ethnic groups — Hispanic women make 13% less than Hispanic men, and the inequity is even greater for Black and Hispanic women when compared to white, non-Hispanic men
  • The largest identifiable causes of the gender wage gap are differences in the occupations and industries where women and men are most likely to work
  • A woman must complete at least one additional educational degree to earn as much as a man with less education
  • The wage gap is larger for mothers and results in employment-related losses of more than $295,000 over a lifetime
  • Discrimination remains a likely leading cause of the gender age gap. Since the Fiscal Year 2022, Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice have collectively recovered over $20 million in monetary relief for women who have experienced pay discrimination in the workplace

In 1979, women earned just 62 cents to each dollar earned by men, so while overall the stats have improved (now at 84 cents), there is still work to be done to move the needle toward closing the pay gap. The U.S. Department of Labor suggests that organizations:

  • Increase pay transparency
  • Disrupt Occupational segregation
  • Eliminate discrimination
  • Increase access to paid leave, and child and elder care
  • Add good jobs to the labor market and hire women for those jobs

Ultimately, pay equity will grow the economy and drive more inclusive, stronger and sustainable economic growth. While more time and efforts are needed, it’s encouraging to see the support of businesses and organizations who uplift and support women in the workplace, and work to understand why the gender pay gap exists at all.  

Sources: dol.gov; census.gov

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