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Happy Equal Pay Day! Today You Have Now Earned As Much As a Man Did Last Year

Happy Equal Pay Day! Today You Have Now Earned As Much As a Man Did Last Year

Spring is here, the snow has melted, flowers are blooming and women just today have finally earned as much as their male counterparts did by December 31, 2010.

Yes, it’s Equal Pay Day, the day it takes for women to finally earn as much as men earned in one calendar year.  And after all, it only took an extra 15 weeks to get there.

Ms. Magazine celebrates the day with the top four myths about women and pay and why they are completely wrong.  From declaring women make less because they choose more flexible careers so they can be with their families to stating that the gender wage gap is over and done with, Ms. breaks down each myth, including the most recent new tale — the recession actually hurt men more than women.

The recent economic recession was dubbed a “mancession” because the male-dominated construction industry took the first major blow. But now it’s women’s jobs that are disproportionately on the line as cuts to professions such as education and nursing are becoming more frequent. Even as the unemployment rate has dropped again, to 8.8 percent for the general public, it’s still 12.3 percent for women who maintain families.

Women are also less likely to have jobs that come with important fringe benefits such as paid sick days and employer-sponsored retirement benefits. Without such benefits, women’s ability to save money for a rainy day is hindered, leaving them more economically vulnerable when they lose their jobs.

Over at Women’s ENews, a few disturbing facts about the gender pay gap, and how it’s beginning to hit at a younger and younger age:

Gender disparities in child labor are startling. In the 16-19 age group 176,000 boys in 2010 were paid below the minimum wage, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For girls last year the number was 304,000.

Fully 12 percent of young women, versus 6.9 percent of young men, are already paid sub-minimum wages. These teens mostly work in food preparation or serving, with jobs such as burger flipping, hash slinging, French frying and soda jerking with the highest levels of teen employment and sub-minimum wages.

Republicans in several states (Utah, Ohio, Minnesota, Maine and Missouri) are proposing sweeping changes to child labor legislation, including allowing sub-minimum wages for workers under the age of 20.

At the $5.25 per hour rate proposed by Maine Republicans, young women wouldn’t get to equal pay day until June.

Ellen Bravo, writing at Women’s Media Center, provides a powerful argument for why we need equal pay and opportunities for women and how those changes benefit everyone.

Pay equity will require a number of solutions, starting with the most basic: stop allowing higher-ups to pay women less or pass them over for promotions. Which means an end to chief executives defending themselves by saying, “But I didn’t tell district managers to discriminate!”  Instead, judges and government agencies need to be asking, “What steps did you take to make sure they did not?”

Still, that’s only one solution. We need to revalue the work women do so that those employed to care for young children and damaged families are compensated similarly to those who care for cars and computer chips.

We need to make it possible for all workers who have caregiving responsibilities — including for themselves — to have paid time off for routine and preventive care, and affordable leave to care for a new child or a serious personal or family illness.

We need to establish equity in pay and benefits for part-timers and temps. And we need to remove barriers from collective bargaining — union workers have the lowest gender wage gap.

Who will benefit? Women, of course. But also men whose families will have more money and whose own working conditions will be improved as a result.

The pay gap has narrowed now to 77 cents for every dollar that a man makes, a chance of 3 cents in five years.  At this rate, we could have parity by…2050.

 

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Photo: http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html via Wikimedia Commons

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33 comments

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12:09PM PDT on May 11, 2012

should be equal pay for equal work

12:56PM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

Maybe it's because women are so often in the position of raising their children on their own so they're willing to be paid less than a man they're competing against for their jobs, but they often are their own worst enemy. Until women demand to be paid what they're worth, they'll always be paid less.

12:37PM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

Tks.

9:12AM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

I worked 40 years as an ICU/ER nurse with a degree, ongoing requisite education at my expense & major responsibilities. Doctors rely on a good nurse's judgement, opinions and 24 hour continuing patient assessment as well as administration of drugs and procedures such as defibrillation which determined life and death. We had absolutely lousy working hours, occassional 24 hour shifts and no such thing as holidays or weekends off, (I can't tell you how many Xmases & family functions I missed), dealt with workplace violence (highest rate of any occupation, even police) and exposure to virulent pathogens, etc.
When our government pay equity board came up with a comparable job we were equated with pastry chefs. HOW F*@$^*G INSULTING! Obviously they had no knowledge of what nurses did.
Male nurses also got the promotions, using the excuse that women would get married and have families and leave the profession even if they never did so. Many male nurses I knew - certainly not all - were lazy and couldn't even hack the job, ending up in areas like mental health or community care where they could sit at a desk and push paper.
Women have come a long way but, let's face it, we do not get the respect we deserve for work that is often just as vital as that of men.
As for the US minimum wage, it is disgusting! How on earth can anyone live on that? In addition, you have no safety net re. health care and other benefits.

6:57AM PDT on Apr 14, 2011

ok, a woman may work 10 hours a week and a man may work 50 hours a week, and if they are payed the same amount, per hour, then there is a legitimate explanation for his pay check being larger.

if a man and woman work 8 hours a day and that same couple comes home and takes care of the kids, dinner and household chores, then things seem even and fair. God willing the woman and man are getting the same pay for the same work, education, etc.

if the woman is a homemaker (or the man in some cases) and the man goes to work 8 hours a day, technically, he could pay her a salary for doing the maid's work. it would have to be a salary that both agree on, since there are perks a maid wouldn't ordinarily get.

there are so many ways to equalize the scales and look beyond gender - it is just a matter of doing it.

7:46PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

Robert H: My point is that women are always so quick to whine they get paid less than men, but they refuse to step up to the plate and act like equals. You never hear anything about deadbeat moms, but they certainly exist. If a woman allows a man to abuse her children, she plays victim so she doesn't get punished. Give me a break. An adult woman in America is hardly a victim unless she chooses to be. There is no excuse for letting a man abuse your kids, and these women should be held accountable. But, they play victim. Well, if you can't act like an equal when it comes to responsibilities, you don't deserve to be treated like an equal when it comes to benefits.

7:33PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

"Happy Equal Pay Day! Today You Have Now Earned As Much As a Man Did Last Year"

Not if you're Latina or African- American. You still have a ways to go if you aren't white.

3:39PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

The following from Carrie Lukas in her Wall Street Journal Op-Ed. Lukas is Executive Director of the Independent Women's Forum:

“Feminist hand-wringing about the wage gap relies on the assumption that the differences in average earnings stem from discrimination. Thus the mantra that women make only 77 percent of what men earn for equal work. But even a cursory review of the data proves this assumption false.”

1:36PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

Yes, there are more women graduating from college. This actually supports my point:

There is more focus from various government programs to get girls - not boys - into college. There are also govt incentives to hire women and minorities over more qualified men.

I'm not saying that all men are more qualified than women. In fact, I happen to think women are better students, more focused, able to multi-task better, are more organized... all things that would lead employers to want to hire women over men.

But things should be EQUAL, right? There should be no incentives for businesses other than to hire the best and the brightest and the most qualified. But that just isn't happening.

Instead we have people with decent jobs who still spell a lot as one word and use an "a" in the word college.

And some of these take time off to be with their families while the men continue to support the family. In my case, I would've loved to be the one to sacrifice my career for my kids. But I didn't. And those women that did, why should they earn as much as me with 15 years of experience when they have only 10 and work barely 40 hours a week compared to my 50 plus?

11:21AM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

Robert I hate to be the one to tell you but women have more education in this country then men. Look at the collage graduation rates. More women graduate Collage then men. So the way you look at your reseach may hold up for you but alot of educated women are at a loss.

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