Fighting for Women's Equality

7 Things You Didn’t Know about Equal Pay Day

April 10, 2018 | by

We all know the number: The average U.S. woman is paid only 80 cents for every dollar paid to her white male co-worker.

As we watch the wage gap close inch by inch every year (but not last year — see #1 below), we’ve grown accustomed to the fact that the average American woman has to work an extra three months every year just to catch up with what a white man would be paid in her position. And that’s just an average; for some groups of women, pay discrimination is much, much worse.

As you organize to fight the pay-triarchy this Equal Pay Day, here are 7 lesser-known facts about the wage gap you need to know.

1. The pay gap got worse in 2018.
There are 7 Equal Pay Days each year, representing how far into 2018 particular groups of women need to work in order to catch up to what men earned in 2017 (Moms vs. Dads, Black women vs. white men, Native American women vs. white men, etc.). The later in the year Equal Pay Day falls, the more severe the pay gap. Latinx women, for example, experience the biggest gap in comparison with white men, so the Latinx Equal Pay Day isn’t until November.

Last year’s Equal Pay Day was April 4. This year we’re “celebrating” on April 10, meaning pay discrimination actually got worse in 2017. We can’t take for granted that the wage gap will shrink from year by year. We have to keep fighting to close it, and close it more quickly.

2. Two weeks ago, Trump issued an executive order revoking the Fair Pay Act.
With little warning, on March 27, Trump revoked President Obama’s 2014 Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces order, which helped make sure companies receiving federal funding complied with federal labor and civil rights laws. By revoking this order, Trump made it easier for companies to pay women less than men.

He also made it easier for large companies to force workers to sign arbitration clauses — or secret “cover-up clauses” — which are used to silence victims of sexual harassment and discrimination, and keep claims out of court and off the public record.

3. For Black women, San Francisco currently has the worst wage gap of any big city.
In San Francisco (where our office is located), Black women are paid only 47 cents for every dollar white, non-Hispanic men are paid — the worst wage disparity in any of the country’s 25 biggest cities. Nationally, the average for Black women is not much better, at 63 cents.

4. At the rate we’re going, the gender wage gap won’t close until 2058.
This figure is based on an average, meaning the higher salaries of Asian-American and white women are speeding up the estimate. But for Latinx women, who are paid only 54 cents for every dollar paid to white men, the wage gap wouldn’t close for another 215 years.

5. Native American women have to work an extra 9 months (until Sept. 27, 2018), just to catch up to what white men earned in 2017.
Native moms are up against racism, sexism, settler colonialism, AND the maternal wage gap, making just 49 cents for every $1 paid to white dads.

6. Across the board, moms earn less.
While women on average are paid only 80 cents per dollar they should earn, moms earn even less — 71 cents on average — despite being the sole, primary, or co-breadwinner 64% of the time. For trans and gender-nonconforming moms, it’s even worse, because they experience poverty at 400% higher rates than the general population.

7. We can do something about it in California: SB 1284
Equal Rights Advocates is co-sponsoring a few bills that will help close the gap. Let’s expedite the process of fixing pay discrimination in California, and lead the country forward on the path to equal pay.

SB 1284 is a bill that would require large California employers to report how much they pay workers broken down by gender, race, ethnicity, and job category.

Employers often aren’t even aware of pay disparities happening under their own roof. This bill would empower large employers to discover where disparities exist and address them. It would also promote more effective, proactive enforcement of California’s equal pay laws, and make sure race and gender wage gaps do not remain hidden from sight.

Join us in doing something about it! Ready to help us close the wage gap in California, and lead the rest of the country forward on equal pay? Tell your senator to vote yes on SB 1284 with our easy-to-use form here.

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