Tuesday is Equal Pay Day, a day that brings awareness to the gender pay gap that many forget about.
The date marks the projected number of days (from the first of the year) women must work in order to earn the same pay men did in 2017.
There are laws that mandate equal pay, however, it is not a secret that discrimination based on gender and race still occurs in numerous career fields.
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, women, on average, earned 80 cents for every dollar men earned in 2015, which was a penny improvement over 2014. These findings are based on Census data on median annual salary for full-time year-round workers.
“While this overall gender wage gap [the 79 percent] is an important statistical representation of how women take home less money in wages than men across the economy, it is important to consider the specific influencing factors: A number of different things, including race and ethnicity, interact to affect earnings,” The Center for American Progress states. “When examining the wage gap for women of color, for example, it becomes clear that on average, women of color experience a much greater wage deficit than white women."
Estimates shows that it may take another 14 years to eliminate the wage gap.
The 2018 Equal Pay Day is designed to bring awareness to this issue. These issues are closer to home than many people realize, especially women.
According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, in Illinois and the Chicago metro area, women earn 21 cents less on the dollar than men do, which amounts to an annual gap of $10,834. The gap especially affects black women, who earn 37 percent less than white men do.
Equal Pay Day should be a day that attracts more attention because it is an issue that many overlook, both men and women. Women often underestimate their skill set and work ethic. Some women accept the salary they are given without negotiating and that can lead to a wider pay gap.
The National Committee on Pay Equity helps bring awareness to the pay gap each year with a campaign. The campaign encourages businesses to look at their pay scales and determine if they are a suspect of pay gaps. They also encourage company employees to contact congressional representatives to talk about the equal pay gap to help fix the issue and make change.
The pay gap also stems from the issue of lack of diversity in work places. Diverse teams are more innovative and work better financially than teams that are dominated by a single race and gender. Lack of diversity is also an issue that should be combatted while battling the equal pay gap.
Battling equal pay gaps are a two-way street, and conversations should start as soon as possible if someone feels they are not being compensated fairly. Be prepared to speak out against this issue to help make a change for others.