Equal Pay Day 2017

Equal Pay Day this year falls on Tuesday, April 4. The gender wage gap has gained significant attention in national media recently, but there are still some common misconceptions about it. Equal Pay Day represents how far into the year women have to work in order to earn as much money as men did for the previous year. In this case, since Equal Pay Day is on April 4th 2017, women have had to work 94 extra days in order to earn as much as white men did in 2016. In addition, this day only marks the matching point for white women, who make on average 79% of what white men earn; last year Asian-American women’s Equal Pay Day happened on March 15, African-American women’s was August 23, Native American Women’s took place on September 15, and Equal Pay Day for Latina women was November 1. Current data shows that Asian-American women are paid 90% of white men in the U.S., African-American women are paid 63%, Native American women are paid 60%, and Latina women are paid 54%. The National Committee on Pay Equity calculates the date for Equal Pay Day each year celebrates it to create public awareness of the persisting wage gap between the sexes.

Equal Pay Day recognizes the history of movements dedicated to ending the gender wage gap that continues to exist despite the passing of the Equal Pay Act in 1963. This act states that employers cannot discriminate against anyone on account of sex, and cannot pay them less based on that factor. It was signed into law one year before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of race, nationality, and sex, among other things. However, there are many loopholes to this act that Obama attempted to fix when he reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act into Congress. It did not pass; the vote was a clear split between party lines and the bill was not moved into committee.

Dickinson’s chapter of American Association of University Women (AAUW) is partnering with the Carlisle Branch of AAUW, and the Women’s and Gender Resource Center to commemorate Equal Pay Day. This event at Dickinson will be held on Monday April 3, one day before Equal Pay Day. We will be on Britton Plaza giving out cookies made by AAUW members. The cookies will have numbers written on them representing the various percentages women are paid compared to how much white, non-Hispanic men are paid in the U.S. Rain location is inside the HUB. Come out on Monday between 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. to celebrate this annual event with homemade cookies and to learn about the wage gap!

Written by Angelica Mishra ’19, WGRC student worker and AAUW member