Equal Pay Day

Today is being observed as Equal Pay Day (the point in 2008 when the average woman’s wages finally catch up with what the average man earned in 2007). As ceremonious as it may sound, its apt to look at the statistics once again with hope and protest. Women in the US, working full-time, year-round earn only about 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. The median annual earnings of women ages 15 and older are $31,858, compared to $41,386 for their male counterparts. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States)

Minority women fare significantly worse. An African American woman earns just 64 cents for every dollar earned by a white man, while a Hispanic woman earns only 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white male counterpart. The median earnings of African American women working full-time, year-round are $29,6805 compared to $46,4376 for white men; the median for Hispanic women are only $24,214. (Source: National Women’s Law Center)

One year out of college, women working full time earn only 80 percent as much as their male colleagues earn. Ten years after graduation, women fall farther behind, earning only 69 percent as much as men earn.

Likewise, Mothers are more likely than fathers (or other women) to work part time, take leave, or take a break from the work force: factors that negatively affect wages. Among women who graduated from college in 1992-93, more than one-fifth (23 percent) of mothers were out of the work force in 2003, and another 17 percent were working part time. Less than 2 percent of fathers were out of the work force in 2003, and less than 2 percent were working part time. On average, mothers earn less than women without children earn, and both groups earn less than men earn. (Source: Behind Pay Gap, 2007, AAUW)