Equal Pay Day brings to light the pay gap women experience in the workplace compared to men.
The day highlights the span of time into the new year that a woman would have to work to equal the earnings of a male from the previous year.
Though Equal Pay Day varies each year, this year it fell on April 2.
However, depending on the race of the woman, it can either take a shorter or longer period of time to match her counterpart’s earnings.
There are multiple dates throughout the year that mark the additional time span that women have to work to compare to the average earnings of men depending on race.
This day brings light to an important topic of the ongoing issue of gender discrimination and the pay gap.
Over time there have been several acts put into place that are meant to close the gap of unequal pay.
The first notable act was the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Signed by President John F. Kennedy, the act was meant to stop employers from distributing unequal wages to opposing genders working jobs of the same skill and responsibility.
In the following year, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was put into place and it went beyond gender by banning employers from discriminating based on “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
However, studies continue to show that women are still earning considerably less than men.
One of the first cases to bring light to the issue was Lilly Ledbetter and her case against Goodyear. After working for the company for 19 years, Ledbetter learned that she was making thousands of dollars less than males in her same position.
After initially winning her case against the company, she lost on an appeal that was upheld by the Supreme Court, due to the amount of time that had passed since the first unequal paycheck.
However, after a long fight she gained the support of former President Barack Obama who signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act which overturned the ruling of when a person must file.
There are millions of women like Ledbetter who continue to experience such a pay gap.
Studies show that on average, women earn around 80 cents to the dollar of their male counterparts each year, which can be even less for women of color.
Some argue that the gap exists due to women bearing children or a lower value of education.
While women do often take more time off of work than men following childbirth, the gap starts within the first year from obtaining a job after college.
It is believed that at the current rate of advancements, the gap will remain until 2059.
As college students who are soon to be entering the working world, it is crucial that we find our voice and help make a change.
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