Today, economic equality is not the status quo in the United States. On average, U.S. women still make only 77 cents to every dollar men make, which hasn’t changed in a over a decade.
That’s a 33% disparity on average between men and women’s income. And it hits hardest for mothers who have to expend a large portion of their income towards childcare and household needs.
According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s 2013 publication, sticking with the status quo won’t bring equal pay for women for years down the road.
“If the pace of change in the annual earnings ratio continues at the same rate as it has since 1960, it will take another 45 years, until 2058, for men and women to reach parity”
For this reason, President Obama has proclaimed National Equal Pay Day Tuesday, April 8, 2014. In addition, this week he will introduce two new executive actions that will promote equal pay for women.
During last year’s Equal Pay Day proclamation, President Obama addressed the financial burdens related to wage inequality:
“Wage inequality undermines the promise of fairness and opportunity upon which our country was founded. For families trying to make ends meet, that gap can also mean the difference between falling behind and getting ahead.”
We were raised on the American principle that if we work hard and contribute to society, we will earn a fair and proportional wage. If we want to uphold this principle, we must fight for a higher minimum wage, lower costs of childcare, and more opportunities for women to enter into high-paying, high-skilled labor sectors.
So for this Equal Pay Day, voice your support for legislation that would make progress towards equal pay. Legislation like the Women’s Economic Security Act in Minnesota and Obama’s executive actions are major steps forward.
Thanks to our progressive leadership, there is real movement towards equal pay. As President Obama said, equal pay wouldn’t help just one group, but an entire economy:
“When women succeed, America succeeds. We do better when everyone participates, and when everyone who works hard has the chance to get ahead. That’s what opportunity means – and it’s why I’ll keep fighting to restore it.”