Equal Pay Day – Wear Red By Karen Jackle, AAUW-CA Public Policy Committee

The next Equal Pay Day (EPD) is Tuesday, March 31. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. The National Committee on Pay Equity https://www.pay-equity.org/day.html reminds us to wear red to symbolize how far women and minorities are “in the red” with their pay. This is a great idea for branch members working EPD tables in their communities or at local colleges.

AAUW’s publication The Simple Truth update is based on the most recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2018, women received just 82 cents for every dollar paid to a man. Women of color often face a wider gap: compared to white men, Black women make 62 cents on the dollar, and Latinas make 54 cents on the dollar. The pay gap has only decreased by a nickel in the 21st Century. For more information on the Gender Pay Gap, and ideas for EPD events, check out https://www.aauw.org/resource/how-to-equal-pay-day/.

On the National Level, the Paycheck Fairness Act passed in the House of Representatives and languishes in the Senate with no action yet taken. The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work in the same establishment. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. It is job content, not job titles, that determines whether jobs are substantially equal. Specifically, the EPA provides that employers may not pay unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment.

According to WAGE (Women Are Getting Even), women earn $1 million less than men in their lifetime. AAUW has facilitated Start Smart and Work Smart Workshops to help close the gap, and you can learn more about these workshops at the website:  https://www.pay-equity.org/day-kit.html. AAUW now offers an online one-hour Work Smart Workshop accessed from the AAUW.org website for salary negotiation skills.