Equal Pay Day: Here’s Why It Is Observed

Equal Pay Day: Here’s Why It Is Observed
Paying attention to detail Nic McPhee/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

April 12 is observed as Equal Pay Day, a day that raises awareness about the issue of wage discrimination between men and women.


The Equal Pay Day marks how far into the year women will have to work in order to level to the earnings of men. The U.S. Census Bureau’s median earnings for the two genders in 2014 revealed that women earned 79 cents to a dollar earned by men.

When factors like profession and hours worked were taken into consideration, there is still a wage gap observed. Pay discrimination against women is seen as the reason for the “unexplained” difference.

However, according to USA Today, wider pay gaps have been observed for different racial and ethnic groups. For mothers, the Equal Pay Day is observed on June 4; for black women, it’s on August 23; for Native American women, it’s on September 13; and for Latinas’, it’s as late as November 1.

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An average woman earns $10,800 per year less than the average man, a report by the Joint Economic Committee says. WBNG reported that women between the ages of 18 and 24 years make 88 percent of what a man does, while those of age 35 and above make about 76 percent of their gender counterpart.

To address this issue, President Barack Obama had signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first piece of legislation signed into law by him, in 2009. According to the law, women could file complaints of pay discrimination within 180 days of receiving their paycheck. WhiteHouse.gov noted that the law amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Kevin Miller, senior researcher with the American Association of University Women, noted that women’s earnings are more affected than those of men because they are more willing to take out time from work. “When women have access to job-protected paid leave, they are more likely to return to the same employer than if they don’t,” Miller said. “Continuous work history helps their wages and advancement.”

As reported by FOX News, a wage discrimination complaint was recently filed by the U.S. women’s soccer team. Actress Jennifer Lawrence also addressed the issue, speaking about earning less than male actors.

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