77 Cents To Each Man’s Dollar

It’s Earth Day’s 38th birthday. Happy Earth Day. Yesterday, April 22, also marked Equal Pay Day – the symbolic window of time marking how much of the year women have worked essentially for free, at least compared with their male counterparts. And that, women’s rights activists say, is nothing to celebrate.Equal Pay Day was launched in 1996 as a national movement to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages,. Today in Colorado, 9 to 5, the National Association of Working Women, is marking Equal Pay Day with an afternoon rally on the steps outside the state capitol.

9 to 5 estimates that the salaries of women still lags about 21 percent behind men – and the pay gap is much worse for women of color.

According to Unity Colorado, which is currently battling an effort to dismantle affirmative action programs in Colorado, men earn, on average of $3 more per hour than women in comparable jobs.

In the Fortune 2000 workforce, women and minorities comprise 57 percent of the workforce, and hold five percent of the senior management jobs.

In a statement today, Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, underscored some other facts to chew on:

“On Equal Pay Day, we commemorate the point in the year it takes a woman to make the same amount of money made by a man in the previous year,” Pelosi noted.

“Women make 77 cents to each man’s dollar.  African American women earn just 63 cents on the dollar, and Hispanic American women fare worse, at 52 cents.

“As women grow older, the wage gap widens: women aged 45 to 64, who preparing for retirement, earn only 71 percent of what men do. At the rate this gap has been closing over time, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates equity will not be achieved until 2057.  We do not have the time to wait.”

In her statement, Pelosi noted that tomorrow the United States Senate will vote on whether to take up the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, passed last year by the House of Representatives – legislation that the Speaker termed “critical” to providing “a remedy for women and men who have been victims of pay discrimination.”

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Cara Degette

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