Today is not just Earth Day. By some not-so-cosmic coincidence, it's also Equal Pay Day! And I couldn’t help but notice it falls on the day of the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary.
So here we are, deciding whether or not to vote for the first woman president, and it seems we still have a need for Equal Pay Day.
Equal Pay Day started in 1995 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages. For those of you who are new to this “holiday,” and yes, I use that term loosely, it is observed on a Tuesday in April and it symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work, on average, to earn as much as a man earned the previous year.
In other words, it takes a woman, on average, one year and about 4 months to earn what it took a man to make in just one year in the same job.
Believe it or not, that's progress. In 1963, the year of the Equal Pay Act's passage, full-time working women were paid 59 cents on average to the dollar received by men,according to the National Organization of Women. In 2005 (the most recent year tallied) women were paid 77 cents on the man's dollar. That means, over the last 42 years, the wage gap has narrowed by less than half a penny per year.
So is it just me, or does the Pennsylvania primary today make you wonder: With the possibility that a woman could be elected to the White House this year–and earn the same pay as any elected man would–is it remarkable that we still have an Equal Pay Day?
Filed under: Randi Kaye
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