Equal Pay Day

Apr 17, 2012

Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, the day when an average woman’s earnings catch up to her male counterpart’s earnings from last year. 

A new report from the National Women’s Law Center, a women’s advocacy organization, shows that women in the United States earn 77 cents to every dollar men earn.  And Indiana is worse – its wage gap is 72 cents to the dollar, fifth worst in the country.

National Women’s Law Center Vice President Emily Martin says one of the reasons the wage gap exists is that men and women do different work, and the work women do tends to pay less than men.  But, she says, it’s not the only reason.

“Match male and female employees as far as the occupation they’re in, as far as the amount of education and training they have, as far as the number of hours they worked, all the factors that you think might make a difference in how much someone is paid, you’ll still find consistent wage gaps where men are making more than women.  And we think discrimination is playing a big part of that.”

The federal Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963. Since then, the wage gap has narrowed from about 60 cents to 77.  But Martin says that’s still not good enough.

“The bad news is if it keeps narrowing at the slow rate that’s it gone, it’s going to be about another 80 years before we get to equality.”

Martin says strengthening anti-retaliatory laws that protect people in the workplace who speak out against pay discrimination will help further the effort.