The question isn’t whether or not we can close the gender pay gap — it’s whether or not we choose to close it.
I could never figure out why my children are somehow worth less to society simply because their mother is the sole breadwinner. My children are not alone. In fact, mothers are the sole or primary provider in 40% of US households with children.
As the sole breadwinner for my family, I have fought to be paid equitably. Twice. That’s why Equal Pay Day matters — not only to me but to the broader US society — because when we leave women behind, we are also leaving their children, their families and our economic well being behind.
We could add $9.2B to our economy in my home state of Colorado if we closed the gender pay gap. This is not solely an issue of fairness. Closing the gender pay gap is an issue of economic growth. We are constricting the economic pie for everyone by not closing the gender pay gap.
What is Equal Pay Day?
Equal Pay Day marks the day when women as an aggregate, across all races and ethnicities, have to work to make the same amount as their male peers did on December 31 of the year prior. It’s true that women work more than three months for free. Each and every year. This number mostly gets worse when you add race and ethnicity.
Consider these facts:
Black women earn 68 cents on the dollar. Latinas earn 62 cents on the dollar. Asian women have the lowest gap at 93 cents on the dollar, and if they are 65 or older that gap widens to 51 cents on the dollar. Even if we took the smallest gap, Asian American women would still have to work up 6 years longer than their male peers to earn the same amount.
Or consider the fact that we have separate Equal Pay Days for different races and ethnicities.
Here are the 2018 Equal Pay Days:
- February 22: Asian American Women’s Equal Pay Day
- April 10: All Women’s Equal Pay Day
- April 17: White Women’s Equal Pay Day
- August 7: Black Women’s Equal Pay Day
- September 27: Native Women’s Equal Pay Day
- November 1: Latinas Equal Pay Day
These findings remind us why we must include all women, of all races and ethnicities, in our mission to close the gender equity gap.
Why We Recognize Equal Pay Day
In 2018, we cannot celebrate Equal Pay Day. Not yet. Until we close the gender pay gap, we will continue to recognize Equal Pay Day to bring awareness to this grave economic injustice. And, when we do close the gap, we will celebrate on December 31 each and every year so that we never forget.
This means we’ve got work to do. In the most recent gender pay gap numbers reported in the UK, almost half of the companies touted as the “best place to work as a woman” in the UK had a larger pay gap than the national average.
We would be wise to look at other countries for inspiration, such as the move by France to fine firms over the gender pay gap, or Canada’s plan to carve out part of its 2018 budget to specifically close the gender gap.
The Future of Equal Pay Day
We launched Pipeline on Equal Pay Day 2017 because we believe in achieving gender equity through using data and advanced technologies, such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
Our goal is to achieve gender equity in our lifetime, including closing the gender pay gap. It’s a very worthwhile goal especially given the backward trajectory of gender equity on both the global and national stage. However, we at Pipeline believe that if we all work together to close the gender pay gap, we’ll have something worth celebrating on December 31, 2030.
It is possible to close the gender pay gap, and to make that a reality we must all choose to close the gap and then take decisive action.
Gender pay parity is possible in our lifetime.