Mind The Pay Gap: Why It'll Cost You, Yes You, Half a Million Dollars

 

Today, ICYMI, is Equal Pay Day--a day for us to reflect on the fact that for all the progress we’ve made, and for all the landmark moments our mothers and grandmothers achieved in fighting for equal rights and fair pay, today, in the year 2017, women on average make 20% less than men for equal work, with black women making 37% less and Hispanic women making 46% less. Over the span of our careers, according to the Women’s Institute of Policy Research, the average woman will miss out on $530,000, while the average college-educated woman will miss out on $800,000. And it gets worse for women of color, of course: the average Hispanic woman will miss out on a million dollars. 

Yeah. Super shitty. But framing the conversation in abstract statistics can sometimes make things feel a little distant; to show you just how whack this really is for you and yours, we put together a handy calculator* that will project how much you're going to lose (at the very least) if things keep going the way they are, based off your current age and salary:

Projections show that it could be up to 136 years before women receive equal pay if things stay more or less the same. The question is, then: What can we do right now to ensure this doesn’t take five more generations of women?

Today, Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington and Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut are expected to reintroduce the Fairness Paycheck Act, which has been submitted in every congressional session since 1997. Here’s a quick look at what the bill entails, taken from the National Partnership of Women & Families:

 

  • Protect against retaliation for discussing salaries with colleagues;

  • Prohibit employers from screening job applicants based on their salary history or requiring salary history during the interview and hiring process;

  • Require employers to prove that pay disparities exist for legitimate, job-related reasons;

  • Provide plaintiffs who file sex-based wage discrimination claims under the Equal Pay Act with the same remedies as are available to plaintiffs who file race- or ethnicity-based wage discrimination claims under the Civil Rights Act;

  • Remove obstacles in the Equal Pay Act to facilitate plaintiffs’ participation in class action lawsuits that challenge systemic pay discrimination; and

  • Create a negotiation skills training program for women and girls.

 

Whether this bill makes it closer than previous efforts or not, over the last few months, we’ve learned something very valuable (see the humiliating defeat of the GOP healthcare plan, for example, and the grassroots efforts from constituents that resulted in many a Republican removing support): Our voices are powerful and we can hold our legislators accountable for carrying out our will.

So today, we’re putting out a simple call to action that we’ve seen go a long way recently:

  1. Find out who your representative is.

  2. Call them and leave them a message about why equal pay is an important issue to you. (And I know you wanna just email them because it’s easier, but calls are way, way more effective.)

  3. Call them again. Then call them again. And then call them again. It really does work.

The Women’s March earlier this year demonstrated millions of times over the kind of message we can send when we join forces, and getting the pay we deserve is an important factor to not only the wellbeing of ourselves and our families, but of the country as a whole. Let’s do this.

*Calculations are based on the pay gap remaining at 20%.

-Deena Drewis