Paycheck Fairness isn’t a Women’s Issue. It’s a Family Issue.
- Women now make up half of all workers on U.S. payrolls, up from a third in 1969
- Over 75% of Americans acknowledge a pay gap exists; it’s time to get women out of the red.
- Women earn only 78 cents for every $1.00 earned by men (2007 data); 83 cents in NYS (2010 data)
Pay Equity Day
Help get women (and their families) out of the red. April 17 is the symbolic day that women’s wages catch up with men’s — that’s how much longer, almost four months, women have to work to make up for pay inequity.
The time has come to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. Join AAUW-Kingston in getting the word out about Pay Equity 2011.
- Women’s median pay was less than men’s in every one of the 20 industries and 25 occupation groups surveyed by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2007
- For women of color, the gap is even wider: In comparison to men’s dollar, African American women earn only 69 cents and Latinas just 59 cents.
- Even men working in female-dominated occupations earn more than women working in those same occupations.
- Women working for the federal government suffer from a pay gap, too – 89 cents for every comparable dollar a man earns — according to a 2009 GAO report to a Senate inquiry. Of the current (2008) 11 cent gap, the GAO says 7 cents remains unexplained, only 1 cent is due to leaves taken (like childbirth & childcare), and most of the remaining 3 cents is due to occupations.
- How fast are we closing the gap? – At the rate of less than half a penny a year. In 1963, when the Equal Pay Act was passed, full-time working women were paid 59 cents on average for every dollar paid to men. This means it took 44 years for the wage gap to close just 19 cents.
- Narrowing of the gap has slowed down over the last six years, with women gaining a mere two cents since 2001.
THE IMPACT OF EDUCATION – Still Not Enough
- Women graduating from college are paid less in their first jobs than their male classmates with the same training.
- One year after graduating college, women are paid on average only 80 percent of their male counterparts’ wages, and during the next 10 years, women’s wages fall even further behind, dropping to only 69 percent of men’s earnings ten years after college.
- A women with a high school diploma working full-time lose as much as $700,000 over a lifetime of work, women with a college degree lose $1.2 million and professional school graduates may lose up to $2 million.
THE IMPACT OF AGE – Growing Old Means Poverty for Many Women
- The wage disparity grows as women get older. Wage inequities follow women into their retirement years, reducing their Social Security benefits, pensions, savings and other financial resources.
- When they retire, women who have worked full time will receive $8,000 less annually in retirement income than their male counterparts.
THE IMPACT OF MOTHERHOOD – earning even less
- 4 in 10 mothers are primary breadwinners, bringing home the majority of the family’s earnings, and nearly two-thirds (62.8 percent) bring home at least a quarter of the family’s earnings. (Schriver Report)
- Mothers pay a penalty for having children while fathers receive a bonus. The GAO also found that women with children earn about 2.5 percent less than women without children, while men with children enjoy an earnings boost of 2.1 percent, compared with men without children.
THE WAGE GAP IS NOT A MATTER OF PERSONAL CHOICE.
- A GAO study concluded that even after accounting for “choices” such as work patterns and education, women earn an average of 80 cents for every dollar that men earn. (2003)
- Since the recession began in December 2007, three out of every four jobs lost belonged to men. Two million wives are supporting their families while their unemployed husbands seek work. Their families need fair pay.
- Women are still segregated into “pink-collar” low-wage, low-skill fields that affect their wages. The lowest paying jobs for women pay less than the lowest paying jobs for men. For example, in NY the lowest paying job for Latina women working full-time, year round, is child care, which pays $11,200. Latino men earn a median income of $18,500 for their lowest paying job– textile worker.
BARRIERS TO ADDRESSING THE GAP
- Widespread belief that this isn’t affecting me or my family.
- Weak existing legislation –current laws are limited and difficult to enforce
- Employer prohibitions against sharing wage information – in many states an employee can be fired for sharing information about their wages with others, so how could a woman know she’s being discriminated against?
- Comparable worth- current legislation limits action to those in the same job title providing employers with easy ways to discriminate
FIVE THINGS YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION CAN DO
1. Spread the word that pay equity is still an issue – and it impacts every family — you, your daughters, your daughters-in-law, and your granddaughters. Some suggestions:
- Publish an article in your organization’s newsletter
- Hold an educational program on pay equity issues
- Write a letter to the editor
- Hold a public event around Equal Pay Day, April 12, 2011 to signal your dissatisfaction with the wage gap. Ideas others have used include an “Un-happy hour” or a “Comparable Pay Bake Sale” where women pay 78 cents for every dollar a man pays.
- Issue a press release about your organization’s position and activity around pay equity
- Talk with your friends and family – find out how pay inequity impacts you and those close to you.
2. Thank Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for co-sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act and other legislation important for equity for women. They have 100% voting records on women’s issues.
The House version of the Paycheck Fairness Act was passed in January 2009. The Senate version is overdue. On March 11, 2010, the Senate Committee held hearings on the Paycheck Fairness Act. Bring the Paycheck Fairness Act to the floor for a vote.
3. Ask our county legislature and executive and your town officials to endorse a proclamation.
4. Write a letter to the editor about your concerns
5. Wear red on Equal Pay Day, April 12th. If we’re going to be “in the red,” we might as well wear it proudly to show our determination to end the wage gap.
Equal Pay Resources
AAUW Kingston, NY Branch
AAUW.org: Pay Equity Resources
AAUW-NYS: Women’s Economic Security
National Committee on Pay Equity includes an Equal Pay Day Kit
Studies and Research Reports
American Association of University Women:
Pay Equity and Workplace Opportunity A simple matter of fairness(PDF)
Behind the Pay Gap (2007)New research released by AAUW shows that just one year out of college, women working full time already earn less than their male colleagues, even when they work in the same field. Ten years after graduation, the pay gap widens.
Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (2010)Provides in-depth research findings that point to environmental and social barriers that continue to block women’s participation and progress in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Institute for Women’s Policy Research:
Still A Man’s Labor Market: The Long-Term Earnings Gap (PDF)
A New Look Through the Glass Ceiling: Where are the Women? Commissioned by Representatives John D. Dingell (D-Mich.) and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.)
NOW.org Improving Pay Equity Would Mean Greater Gains for Women (PDF)
The WAGE Project: What Are the Costs of the Wage Gap?
U.S. Census Bureau: Income, Earnings, and Poverty Data from the 2007 American Community Survey, pg.16-17 (PDF)
US Government Accountability Office: Women’s Pay: Gender Pay Gap in the Federal Workforce Narrows as Differences in Occupation, Education, and Experience Diminish
Want to print this information? Here’s a link to a PDF.
For more about local pay equity activities, links to the sources for our data,
or help planning your event, contact Ruth Wahtera