Equal Pay Day is today, April 4th! It was started in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity to draw attention to the gap between men and women’s wages. Equal Pay Day is always held in April to represent how far into the year women have to work to make what men made in the previous year and always on a Tuesday to show how far into the next week women have to work to catch up to men’s earnings the week before. While progress has certainly happened since the first Equal Pay Day – it is slow. According to a 2016 study, today white women make eighty-three cents on the dollar compared to men, Black women make sixty-six cents and Hispanic women make sixty cents.
Currently, it is the federal government that is in large part, standing in the way of equal pay. Since 1997, Representative Rosa DeLauro (joined by Senator Patty Murray this year) has reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act on Equal Pay Day. It has yet to hit the House floor. In 2014, Senate Republicans blocked legislation on equal pay and last week, on March 27th, Donald Trump pulled back an Obama-era rule – the 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order. Ironic given that his daughter and special White House advisor, Ivanka Trump, just tweeted that “#EqualPayDay is a reminder that women deserve equal pay for equal work. We must work to close the gender pay gap!” Looks like he doesn’t listen to everything she says.
Support equal pay for equal work! Continue to contact your representatives, participate in Town Hall meetings and attend events that support Women’s Rights.