How to “Celebrate” Equal Pay Day
Equal Pay Day is the symbolic day when women’s earnings “catch up” to men’s earnings from the previous year. It’s also a powerful occasion to raise awareness about and organize action around the gender pay gap in your community. We need your help to organize AAUW Equal Pay Day activities in all 50 states!
What You Should Know about Equal Pay Policy and the Gender Pay Gap
The gender pay gap is a primary issue for AAUW and one that we have been working on for years. As early as 1922, AAUW’s legislative program called for a reclassification of the U.S. Civil Service and repeal of salary restrictions in the Women’s Bureau. In 1955, AAUW supported a bill introduced by Reps. Edith Green (D-OR) and Edith Rogers (R-MA) requiring “equal pay for work of comparable value requiring comparable skills.” Congress finally enacted the Equal Pay Act, a version of the 1955 bill, in 1963.
Despite the Equal Pay Act, the gender pay gap persists; women are typically paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to men — and that number has barely budged in a decade. Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and other civil rights laws has helped to narrow the gender pay gap, these actions only cover segments of the American working population, and many important protections are not yet codified in law. Moreover, there are numerous other reasons for discrimination and pay disparity that must be addressed.
AAUW continues to advocate for strong pay equity legislation, regulation, and enforcement to protect employees and assist employers.
Equal Pay Day is an opportunity to draw attention to the gender pay gap and to call for legislative action and other solutions, including AAUW’s salary negotiation workshops, to curb this pervasive problem.
Think 80 cents is bad? The pay gap is even worse for some women of color. AAUW also observes equal pay days throughout the year focusing on Asian American, African American, Native American, and Latina women.