Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Importance of Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day this year is Tuesday, April 12, 2016.  The National Committee on Pay Equity started this day to act as a constant reminder of how women are still victims of wage inequality.  It is very important to remember how women are still discriminated against, and that the pay gap still exists.  Equal Pay Day is always on a Tuesday because it represents, “how far into the next work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week”. 

Many women who work the same hours as men are paid less, and are forced to work longer hours to have a substantial income. 

In 2010, women were making only 77 cents on average for every dollar men made, and the wage gap is even more severe for women of color.  

On average a woman working full time all year round is underpaid $10,876 in comparison to her male counterpart.  Women should not have to work longer hours than men just to make the same amount as them.  The gap also severely effects families that might rely on a woman’s income, especially if the woman in the family is the sole income earner.

The mere fact that women are being paid less than men for the same work is unjust. The wage gap has been around too long and there needs to be an end in sight.  

Being a champion for pay equality is a paramount issue that needs widespread attention. 

We all need to take action and make strides to ensure women can receive fair and equal compensation for the work they perform.

The past Equal Pay Days have augmented heightened awareness regarding wage inequality:
  • In 2007, former Senator Hillary Clinton, who co-sponsored the Paycheck Fairness Act, addressed a rally in DC, as did former Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, who both co-sponsored the Fair Pay Act.
  • Each year, from 2010 to 2013, President Obama issued an “Equal Pay Day Proclamation” to the public.
  • In Minnesota, on Equal Pay Day 2013, the Pay Equity Coalition celebrated the State Employees Pay Equity Act of 1982, which accomplished pay equality for Minnesota’s largest work force.  

This year, in Lansing, Michigan on April 12th there will be many activities such as rallies, legislative briefings, and an issues briefing all aimed at educating and ending wage discrimination. Attendees are encouraged to wear red to show how women are still “in the red.” Together, we can work towards wage equality for all.

For more information regarding Equal Pay Day please visit:

Written by: Marissa Thomas, Oakland/Macomb NOW intern