April 10 is Equal Pay Day, symbolizing the time when wages paid to American women catch up to wages paid to men.
The American Association of University Women observes this date to raise awareness of the gender pay gap. AAUW also observes equal pay days in August for African American women, September for American Indian women and October for Latina women for whom the gap is higher.
More than 50 years after passage of the Equal Pay Act, women still labor under unequal pay. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that women working full time, on average, earn 80 percent of what men earn.
At the current rate of progress, the wage gap will not close until 2057. According to the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, if Colorado women earned the same as comparable men, the poverty rate for working women would be halved.
Last week, my husband and I were discussing the 20 percent wage gap. He happened to glance at his phone, “Oh, I’m down to 20 percent.”
“Were it female,” I quipped, “it would be depleted.”
You can recharge your phone. But just imagine a gender gap in distribution of electricity and natural gas. Would you tolerate that?
Just imagine the extra time, extra physical and emotional energy that many women expend to make ends meet. Wage gap consequences extend far beyond a paycheck. May Equal Pay Day arrive much sooner than predicted!
Faye Schrater, Public Policy Liaison AAUW Durango