Closing the Gap: Fighting for Equal Pay

Categories: Pay, Civil Rights

The Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy in 1963.  Back then, women earned only 59 cents to every dollar earned by men.  Although the gap has significantly decreased over the last 50 years, women continue to lag behind, still earning only 81 cents to every dollar a man earns.  The gap widens for African American and Latina women.

This wage gap is detrimental to millions of households across America, as they are missing out on thousands of dollars of income each year.  It is also reflected negatively in a women’s overtime pay, 401K plans and social security benefits.  Although women can fight against unequal pay in the courts – like Lilly Ledbetter in the case of Ledbetter v. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. - a critical way to solve this problem is to create transparency and equality amongst private sector employers.

If you’re thinking there is a good reason why Equal Pay Day is celebrated in April and on a Tuesday, you’d be right. The month of April marks how far into the year a woman has to work to “catch up” to the earnings of her male counterparts. Tuesday reflects how far into the next week a woman must work to match what a man made at the close of business the week prior. 

As a show of solidarity to the working women in America, the Women's and Fair Practices Departments are asking that you join us in ‘Rockin’ the Red’ on Tuesday, April 8th. Simply wear red on that day and encourage others to do the same.  Also, feel free to post pictures of you and other supporters ‘Rockin’ the Red’ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #AFGEequalpayday.  To have your photos included with others across the country raising awareness for equal pay, also include the hashtag #equalpay.

Learn more about Equal Pay Day from the National Committee on Pay Equity and theDepartment of Labor.  

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