Examining the wage gap

Last year, as a species we managed to create adaptable, airless tires, elevators that move in more directions than up or down, and breast pumps that are so thin and discreet that women can fit them in their bras, according to Time magazine. Yet, for some reason, we still haven’t figured out how to make sure that our U.S. working women are paid as much as their male counterparts.

In fact, according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), American women are typically only paid 80 percent of what men are paid. Because of this, it takes some women until April of a following year to match the salary of the opposite sex. This year, AAUW estimates that this day falls on April 10, also known as Equal Pay Day.

What is Equal Pay Day?

According to NBCNews.com, Equal Pay Day was established in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) as a means to educate the public about the pay wage gap. NCPE decided to have Equal Pay Day fall on a Tuesday in April of each year to symbolize how far into the year and workweek women have to work to match the salary of a man.

Race and ethnicity matter

Despite campaigning efforts like the one started by NCPE over two decades ago, American women still make less than their male counterparts, and even less if they happen to be a woman of color. As a matter of fact, AAUW recognizes this disparity by recognizing different days for each ethnic group.

This year, those days are as follows, in line averaged cents-on-the-dollar percentages, according to a 2016 comparison to white men’s earnings:

Feb. 22 – Asian American women’s Equal Pay Day (90 percent)

April 10 – All women’s Equal Pay Day (80 percent)

April 17 – White women’s Equal Pay Day (77 percent)

Aug. 7 – Black women’s Equal Pay Day (63 percent)

Sep. 27 – Native women’s Equal Pay Day (59 percent)

Nov. 1 – Latina women’s Equal Pay Day (54 percent)

AAUW notes that discrepancies also depend on age, location, education levels and student debt. For a complete breakdown, visit www.aauw.org/research/the-simple-truth-about-the-gender-pay-gap/.

How you can enact change

While there is a need for systemic change, individuals, both male and female, can do their part to lobby for change. The AAUW encourages people to fight for fair pay by calling on Congress to rule in favor of equal pay. Though change can exist on a smaller scale as in the form of salary negotiations, pursuit of secondary education and participation in increasing public awareness regarding the gender pay gap.

For more information about NSU’s AAUW chapter, contact Randi Sims at sims@nova.edu or learn about their events by accessing Orgsync.

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