This past Tuesday was Equal Pay Day, a day that marks the time it takes a woman to match the annual earnings that men with the same qualifications earned between January 1 and December 31 of the previous year.
More women in the United States are obtaining college degrees and increasing their participation in the labor force. Family-friendly legislation — including the Equal Pay Act, Family and Medical Leave Act and Pregnancy Discrimination Act — have increased options to create a win-win situation for women and their employers. Yet the wage gap between men and women persists.
In 2011, women working full-time earned an average of 77 cents on the dollar to their male counterparts. According to one estimate from a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (2011), college-educated women working full-time earn more than a half-million dollars less than their male peers do over the course of a lifetime.
The American Association of University Women’s (AAUW’s) recent research report, “Graduating to a Pay Gap,” found that even one year out of college a typical college-educated woman working full-time earned $35,296 a year compared to $42,918 for a typical college-educated man working full-time.
AAUW believes that pay equity is a simple matter of justice and continues to support initiatives that seek to close the persistent and sizable wage gaps between men and women (http://www.aauw.org).
— Anne Hershberger
president, AAUW-Goshen branch