On this symbolic date, Equal Pay Day, the nation’s attention is called to look at how many more months and days into the new year women have to work to make what men were paid for the same job the previous year. This smart hook to awareness was created in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity. However, there’s more than one Equal Pay Day.
While women overall would have to work until March 24, over 65 more days, to make the same wages as men, this fact can break down even farther.
- Asian American and Pacific Islander’s Women’s Equal Pay Day is March 9, as AAPI women make 85 cents to the dollar paid to white males.
- Mothers’ Equal Pay Day is June 4 – mothers are paid 70 cents for every dollar paid to fathers.
- Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is August 3 – Black women are paid 63 cents to every dollar a white male makes.
- Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day is September 8 – Indigenous women make 60 cents to the dollar made by a white male.
- Latina's Equal Pay Day is October 21 – this comes in at 55 cents made by a Latina woman to every dollar made by a white male.
Unfortunately, this pattern holds true even for highly technical, good-paying STEM jobs as well. While the equal pay gap is slightly less in STEM, it still persists.
- Latina women in STEM earn only 54 percent of white male earnings, according to the American Association of University Women.
- Women in STEM fields make 79 percent of what men in STEM fields make in their median annual salaries, according to the National Science Foundation (2018).
- In one National Science Foundation study, controlling for variables to compare women and men doing equal work at equal ages and experience levels, women in STEM were found to receive nine percent less than men.
In the federal government, the Equal Pay Act requires the federal government to pay men and women equal pay for equal work. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also makes it illegal for the federal government to discriminate based on sex in pay and benefits. But the percentage of women who are actually working on the federal government and receiving equal pay is barely a blip on the radar compared to the rest of the population.
This is why once again it’s incumbent on all Americans to insist on wage transparency and examine employment practices, and to make Equal Pay Day a thing of the past.