International equal Pay Day, seeking equal pay for women
International Equal Pay Day is celebrated on September 18 each year. The International Equal Pay Coalition started this holiday in 2019 to raise awareness about women’s pay inequality and push to close the gender pay gap. This day sheds light on how the wage gap affects women of color based on race, ethnicity, and disability. This wage gap is prominent in nearly all occupations and industries, but especially in male-dominated ones.
Women globally earn about 37% less than men in similar roles, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021.
In its index of 156 countries, the Forum finds that progress in closing the gender gap is slow. Based on the current trajectory, women are 267.6 years away from gender parity in the area of economic participation and opportunity, which includes equal pay.
A bit of history
In 1983, legislation called the Equal Pay Act established that female and male employees should be paid the same for jobs with similar working conditions and requiring the same amount of skill, effort, and responsibility. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 enhanced this legislation as Title VII of this law prohibited discrimination of persons based on race, religion, color, or sex. This is important. Women of color have often been ignored when discussing the gender wage gap, as they are paid even less than white women.
WHY INTERNATIONAL EQUAL PAY DAY MATTERS
- Not everyone believes there is a wage gap
The U.S. Census Bureau confirms the wage gap. Despite a wealth of evidence and statistics, 46% of American men and 30% of American women believe the age gap is evened out. This day highlights the issue and gets people thinking about it.
- It teaches us about related issues.
In addition to being paid less, women are charged more for the same services. Women are charged more for mortgage interest rates, hygiene products, clothing, and hairdressing services. This day makes us aware of these issues.
- The wage gap supports systemic racism.
The gender wage gap is directly related to racism in the United States, as the majority of those affected are women of color. If people of color are generally paid less, it affects their health, education, and life opportunities. Only awareness will change this as people lobby against injustice.
Despite good progress, much remains to be done. The World Bank notes that equal pay for work of equal value is only mandated in less than half of the world’s economies (90 economies). And in 88 economies, laws restrict the jobs and hours women can work, affecting 1.6 billion women.
While the gender wage gap is narrowing, there is still much work to be done: women in the U.S. still earn only 83 cents on average for all the dollars men are paid.
In addition to the international day, in the United States, we celebrate National Equal Pay Day on March 15 each year.