#EqualPayDay (4/14/2015) - Best of the Left Activism

You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: Equal Pay Day.

There’s a stat most people are aware of. On the right they do back flips and employ non sequiturs to “refute” it. On the left we rattle it off automatically whenever anyone says: “Men and women are equal these days, so why is everyone still complaining?”

Data shows that women in the U.S. earn approximately 25% less than their male counterparts. Still. Like right now. In 2013, women’s earnings were 78.3% of men’s — up 1.8% from 2012 according to the Census.

That stat comes with an important caveat that should be noted and remembered when participating in today’s action. The 78.3% number is for white women. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), African American women earned 68.1% of all men’s earnings and Latinas’ earnings were 60.4% of men’s. So, far less than their white counterparts.

Even if we just use the white woman pay equity gap, the numbers are staggering. In 2013, men earned an average of $50,033 and women came in at $39,157 — a difference of over $10,000 per year. Think about what you could do with ten grand. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, neither women’s nor men’s earnings improved much from 2012 to 2013 — the most recent numbers available. Their “wage gap fact sheet” states:

“If the pace of change in the annual earnings ratio continues at the same rate as it has since 1960, it will take another 45 years, until 2058, for men and women to reach parity.”

The biggest awareness day for the pay gap is coming up. The National Committee on Pay Equity started Equal Pay Day in 1996 to illustrate how many extra days into the new year women would need to work to equal what men earned the previous year. In 2015, the date is April 14. So, women would have to work all of 2014, plus the first three and a half months of 2015 to match what men took home in 2014.

Social media will likely use the traditional hashtags of “Equal Pay” and “Equal Pay Day” with people sharing stories and statistics. Wearing red — possibly with a selfie or two posted to your networks — symbolizes how far women and minorities are “in the red” with their pay.

You can also visit the “What You Can Do” tab at Pay-Equity.org anytime to track legislation, contact Congress, and find out how to do an equality audit of your business.


Wear red on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 for #EqualPayDay.

Visit the “What You Can Do” tab at PayEquity.org to track legislation, contact Congress, form a wage club, or do an equality audit of your business.

Sources/further reading:

Wage Gap Fact Sheet via Institute for Women's Policy Research

Equal Pay and the Wage Gap via National Women's Law Center (NWLC)

"Women Can't Afford to Celebrate Equal Pay Day” by Margaret Carlson at Bloomberg View

"For African-American Women—and All Women—Let’s Make Every Day Equal Pay Day” by Stephanie Schriock and Rep. Terri Sewell at The Root

Hear the segment in context:

Episode #900 "Stuff we shouldn’t have to explain anymore (Feminism)"

Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich

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