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Category: Politics, Economy

No More Equal Pay Days: A Call to Action for Pay Equality

April 12, 2011

Today marks the 15th annual Equal Pay Day in the USA. Started in 1996, the annual observance has become increasingly important as more cases of gendered discrimination have come to light, including the heavily media covered Wal-Mart lawsuit which if accepted by the Supreme Court will be the largest employment discrimination lawsuit in American history. Also in the news are the recent discrimination lawsuits against Virginia Tech and Publicis Groupe SA.

Representative Rosa DeLauro, co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, hopes to end the Equal Pay Day tradition by passing the bill that will expand upon the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and ensure that women are treated and paid equally in the workplace.

“Let us finally ensure that America's women, who make up half our nation's workforce, are treated as fairly and equitably as the other half. Let's give real teeth to the Equal Pay Act at last, and do what we can to make this one of the last “Equal Pay Days” in our history,” she told a group of women’s representatives in Connecticut yesterday as she called for action on the issue of pay equality.

Despite the Equal Pay Act’s passage nearly 50 years ago, women continue to make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men in similar positions. The date chosen for Equal Pay Day, 15 weeks after the end of 2010, marks how long a woman must work in order to earn what her male counterparts earned in 2010 alone. Check out what women around the web are doing to observe and promote Equal Pay Day and find out how you can help below:

  • WAGE (Women Are Getting Equal) offers plenty of tools to get involved on Equal Pay Day. Here you can calculate what your job is worth, attend a salary negotiation workshop, or become a trained workshop facilitator.
  • The Uppity Women at Uppity Women R Us are conducting their first grassroots political as One Million Pissed Off Women by asking women to contact their State Representatives in support of pay equality for women.
  • The Coalition of Labor Union Women ask that you wear red today in support of Equal Pay Day and urges women to support the Paycheck Fairness Act which Senator Barbara Mikulski and Representative Rosa L. DeLauro are reintroducing to the U.S Senate today.
  • The ACLU also offers an online correspondence form to contact members of congress advising them to support equal pay by becoming a co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
  • A list of programming and advocacy ideas are offered in AAUW’s Pay Equity Resource Kit. They offer ideas for action such as encouraging your local politicians to recognize Equal Pay Day, a guide to conducting a workplace pay audit, and tips on organizing a reading and discussion series focused on women in low-wage jobs.
  • To commemorate Equal Pay Day, The National Women’s Law Center has teamed up with MomsRising to host an Equal Pay Blog Day in which they’ll feature blogs about fair pay throughout the day.