With the attention that Equal Pay Day gets these days, one might think that they are up to speed on all of the issues surrounding it. Women are earning a little over 80 cents on the dollar compared to what a man earns. Another thing to note is that Equal Pay Day is not a day to celebrate. With the wage gap seeming to only be increasing, when you look at the statistics there are some things that you might not realize.
For women of color the 80 Cents Statistic Doesn’t Apply
Findings from the National Women’s Law Center show that African-American women earn 63 cents on the dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men, and Hispanic or Latina women earn 54 cents per dollar. Women with disabilities make around 76 cents per dollar vs men with disabilities but overall people with disabilities make less. And Mothers earn 71 cents compared to that dollar that a father makes. It is often called the motherhood penalty.
The economic impact would be tremendous
Fixing the wage gap would reduce poverty and boost the economy. The poverty rate for women would be cut in half, from 8.0 to 3.8 percent. Equal pay would also significantly cut poverty in states with higher rates of working women. Additionally, if the gap was eliminated there would be a 2.8% increase, approximately $512.6 billon, to the country’s gross domestic product. With women being the bulk of consumers the new income would go directly into the economy.
The wage gap is decreasing at a glacial pace
At the current rate that the wage gap is being handled we (women) won’t reach pay equality until 2059. That’s 41 years from now and only for white women. For black and Latina women that number is more like 2124 and 2233. Until all women are fairly compensated for their work we have a long road ahead.
Government and Business leaders can make a difference
Reworking the Paycheck Fairness Act and closing loopholes in current law could break the pattern of current pay discrimination practices while enforcing protections for women workers. Leaders in business have a role to play and the power to aid in closing the pay gap.
You can be the change you want to see
While the pay gap won’t decrease overnight there are ways to combat it now. First, negotiate your salary. This is one thing women, especially women of color, neglect to do when the time comes to discuss salaries. Do your research and stand your ground and know that you’re worth it! Second, educate yourself about equal pay legislation at all levels of government. If you’re not informed you can’t complain about the situation. Third, tell a friend. What good is knowing a lot about a topic and not sharing it with someone. Tell your girlfriend, your mother-in-law, your Soror, your book club. Tell everyone. Raising awareness can start with you.