Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pay Equity Day

Missed National Pay Equity Day yesterday, but it bears reminding ourselves.

From the National Committee on Pay Equity:
Census statistics released on Women's Equality Day--August 26, 2008--show that the gap between men's and women's earnings changed by less than one percent from 2006 to 2007, narrowing only slightly from 76.9 to 77.8 percent. Based on the median earnings of full-time, year-round workers, women's earnings were $35,102, and men's earnings were $45,113. Median earnings for women of color are generally even lower, and all showed percentage drops in the last year. In 2007, the earnings for African American women were $31,009, 68.7 percent of men's earnings, a drop of more than 3 percent; Asian American women's earnings were $40,374, 89.5 percent of men's earnings, a drop of 3.5 percent; and Latinas earnings were $26,612, 59 percent of men's, a drop of .6 percent.

In short, women earn about 78 cents to every dollar a man makes, and that number decreases when issues like race and ethnicity are brought into play. On January 9th, President Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which eases restrictions on employees seeking to sue employers for inequalities in pay.

The Council provides a handy-dandy schedule of pay averages since 1960 to see just how little the pay difference has changed.

To run the flip side, check out Blue Ohio Blog's response to Pay Equity Day, where the assertion is based on women's choices to go into liberal arts, or take more part time work (due to things like, oh, motherhood) ... and that, once adjusted, the differents is actually 99.45 cents to every dollar a man makes. There are problems with the argument -- can we talk about women in math and sciences? -- but I'll let y'all hash it out.

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