It’s time for women to make equal pay
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Equal pay has been the law since 1963. But today, nearly 40 years later, women are still paid less than men—even when we have similar education, skills and experience.
In 2002, women were paid 76 cents for every dollar men received. That’s $24 less to spend on groceries, housing, child care and other expenses for every $100 worth of work we do. Nationwide, working families lose $200 million of income annually to the wage gap.
It’s not like we get charged less for rent or food or utilities. In fact, we pay more for things like haircuts and dry cleaning.
Over a lifetime of work, the 24 cents-on-the-dollar we’re losing adds up. The average 25-year-old working woman will lose more than $523,000 to unequal pay during her working life.
And because we’re paid less now, we have less to save for our futures and we’ll earn smaller pensions than men. Half of all older women receiving a private pension in 1998 got less than $3,486 per year, compared with $7,020 per year for older men.
These figures are even worse for women of color. African American women earn only 67 cents and Latinas 55 cents for every dollar that men earn. Asian Pacific American women earn less, too. Their pay inequality is less severe than for women as a whole, but they still earn only 83.5 cents for every dollar that men earn.
Equal pay isn’t just a women’s issue. When women get equal pay, their family incomes rise and the whole family benefits.
Men in jobs usually or predominately held by women—sales, service and clerical positions, for example—are also victims of pay bias.The 4 million men who work in predominately female occupations lose an average of $6,259 each year, according to the 1999 report on Equal Pay for Working Families: National and State Data on the Pay Gap and Its Costs.
The 25.6 million women in these jobs lose an average of $3,446 a year.