Today is Equal Pay Day, but don’t start celebrating just yet. After decades and decades of working toward a pay system that makes sense and doesn’t short women, we’re still not there. This day is actually a reminder of that: It takes place on a Tuesday every April to remind everyone that, in the United States, it takes a woman six working days on average to make what a man makes in five–a woman would have to work until Tuesday to make what a man had made by Friday.
We have made some progress, with the gap narrowing since President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, and President Obama recently signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, but females still only earn 78 cents to every dollar their male counterparts earn.
This discrimination is affecting women’s lives in countless ways. In her column on the Huffington Post today, Rep. Carolyn Maloney points out how families of women victims of September 11 originally were slated to recieve less compensation because the outdated government system assumed female victims would have worked less than male victims. Maloney was one of the people who fought successfully against that plan.
‘It was a sobering reminder of how institutionalized gender discrimination can be,’ she writes. ‘This isn’t from a history book – it is not an example of how difficult it was for women of our grandmothers’ generation. This is an example of how women as young as our daughters, in this decade, are still facing the same obstacles we vowed to eradicate.’
While I’m glad there is a day set aside to make the whole country think about the wage gap, it’s actually sad, too, that we have to have Equal Pay Day. Women should have equal pay every single day.
You can read more about Equal Pay Day in this New York Times article. –Jax
Image from the NC Policy Watch Blog