It’s that time of year again to celebrate (well, more appropriately, mourn the fact we have to even do this every year) Equal Pay Day. Every year, advocates across the country mark the point in the year when an average woman’s wages catch up to the wages earned the year before by the average man.
And so, get out your calendars and excitedly mark that date as April 22, 2008! And put a post-it note beside it to remind yourself that women still only make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. When you break it down, the facts get more dismal: African-American women make 63 cents and Latinas make 52 cents for every dollar that a man gets in return. Yet women are better educated than men.
Over four decades ago, the Equal Pay Act was passed and signed into law by President Kennedy to make it illegal for employers to pay men and women different wages for equal work. At the time of passage, women made just 59 cents to every dollar a man earned so progress has been made in narrowing the wage gap. Unfortunately, the clock still seems to be ticking mightily slow on the implementation of the law that was supposed to shatter the glass ceiling.
And the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co . to dismiss a suit by Lilly Ledbetter, an employee at a plant in Alabama for 19 years who suspected she was paid less than her male colleagues, turned the clock backwards.
Thankfully, there’s hope in the midst of this springtime air and it can be found in The Fair Pay Restoration Act. The bill, which the House passed last year, would repeal the Supreme Court’s harmful Ledbetter decision. The Senate is now expected to take up the bill next week and the timing with Equal Pay Day isn’t just coincidental.
Here's to hoping I don't have to blog about Equal Pay Day for another decade.