Observing equal pay day

Breaking down the gender pay gap


Equal Pay Day was observed on March 15 in the United States, the earliest it’s ever been acknowledged.

According to a proclamation on National Equal Pay Day released on March 14 on the White House website, this day has existed for over 25 years.

“This year, Equal Pay Day falls on March 15, the earliest we have ever marked the occasion. The earlier that Equal Pay Day arrives, the closer our Nation has come to achieving pay fairness. But while we should celebrate the progress we have made, as I have said in the past, we should not be satisfied until Equal Pay Day is no longer necessary at all,” President Joe Biden wrote.

Pew Research reported that on average in 2020, women earned 84% of what men earned in both full and part-time positions. Based on these numbers it would take women an extra 42 days to earn what men did.

Furthermore, in 2020 women between the ages of 25-34 earned 93 cents for every dollar a man in the same age group makes. This is compared to 1980 when women in the same age group earned 33 cents less than their male counterparts. While there is still a wage gap, over the past 40 years there has been a 26-cent increase in average page for women ages 25-34.

Census.gov includes average pay disparities from every state, as well as the country. In Michigan, the male average earnings yearly is $53,435 compared to the female average of $41,560. This means that yearly there is an average pay difference of $11,875.

In 2017, Pew Research reported that approximately four-in-ten working women said they experienced gender discrimination at work. Additionally, one in four employed women said they earned less than men doing the same job, 5% of men had a similar complaint.

Most of the statistics included above compare white women’s salaries.

“The disparities are even greater for Black, Native American, Latina, and certain subpopulations of Asian women when compared to white men. Disabled women also continue to experience significant disparities and make 80 cents for every dollar compared to men with disabilities,” Biden wrote.

Another subgroup that has experienced more pay disparity is trans women. According to the 19th News, a snapshot poll by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and a California-based market research firm found that trans women make 60 cents on the dollar compared to all workers.

While there has been progress, there is still discrimination against women, especially women apart of minority groups. Many wonder why the pay gap continues to persist.

According to Pew Research, it is a combination of factors. This can include educational attainment, occupational segregation, and work experience.

“Even though women have increased their presence in higher-paying jobs traditionally dominated by men, such as professional and managerial positions, women as a whole continue to be overrepresented in lower-paying occupations relative to their share of the workforce. This may contribute to gender differences in pay,” Pew Research reported.

Another factor that may impact the wage gap is that many women are mothers, and this can disrupt their career paths. A 2016 survey found that mothers who took leave after having a child or adopting took more time off than fathers. The median length of leave for mothers is 11 weeks, while the average for fathers is one week.

“Mothers were also nearly twice as likely as fathers to say taking time off had a negative impact on their job or career. Among those who took leave from work in the two years following the birth or adoption of their child, 25% of women said this had a negative impact at work, compared with 13% of men,” Pew Research reported.

While women’s month is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of women and the advancement in women’s rights it’s also important to acknowledge the continued challenges for women, including equal rights with regard to pay.