Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

Girls & Women

Stand up for equal pay

Photo: Huffington Post

Attention folks, National Equal Pay Day is this Tuesday, April 14 in the United States! Why is this important!? Look at the stats below and you will get the idea...

image via giphie

This date is significant because it symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year (get it, it’s the 78th day of the year!)

Since 1996, the US Department of Labor’s Equal Pay Day has raised awareness about the gap in wage earnings between men and women. Yet, a decade has passed and the pay gap has barely budged.

Today, a woman working in the United States makes only 78 cents to every man’s dollar. This divide is even larger for minorities and women over the age of 35.

Certainly, the 78-cents figure also reflects differences in jobs, hours worked, years of experience, education and skills between, and among both, genders. BUT. what does this actually mean? Do women get paid less because they work in more lower-paying jobs and sectors? Or could it be because they work less hours than their male counterparts? Or is discrimination at play?

I did some digging, and here’s what I found:

1.) It’s not due to the jobs women hold! Women face a pay gap in almost every occupation.

yes, that gets an eye-roll | image via Giphy

Whether the position is female dominated, gender balanced, or male dominated, women ACROSS THE BOARD are paid less than men. School teachers, social workers, computer programmers, accountants - you name it, and women are making less.

2.) Education is not an effective tool against the closing the gender pay gap.

...but she's a doctor! | image via Giphy

While getting an education is key for increased earnings, it does not solve the issue of mitigating the gender wage gap. At every level of educational attainment, women, on average, earn less.

3.) The wage gap starts early, and extends across women’s careers

And that gets an EVEN BIGGER EYEROLL! | image via Giphy

Even just one year after graduating from college, young female workers (like myself!) earn 82% of what our male colleagues make. Think about it: this is a massive loss of income over a lifetime. And it doesn’t JUST affect the individual women - it affects her family as well. Lower earnings mean lower income for families.

So, why can’t every pay day be equal pay day?The fact that a special day every year is designated to champion wage equality illustrates just how far we are from making equal pay a reality -- in the United States and around the world.

So today, I’m proud to say that I’m supporting UN Women’s initiative to turn AWARENESS into ACTION. How? By turning pocket change into meaningful change.

TAKE ACTION FOR WAGE EQUALITY! Post a picture of yourself on social media holding 78 cents (For those in the US, that’s three quarters and three pennies), and use the hashtags #78Cents and #HeForShe (like the friendly man, pictured below!).

Let’s stand in solidarity together and send a powerful message to governments and businesses alike: commit to do more for female workers!