Actress Patricia Arquette caused a quite a stir in her Oscar acceptance speech when she advocated for equal pay for women. She got a lot of love from Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez that night, but the online response wasn’t so supportive. So what’s the deal with women and wages?
In 1963, the US Congress passed the Fair Wage Act to address the gender wage gap. At the time, women were making $.59 cents for every $1 made by men. In the 50 years since, women are still making significantly less than men. They are now making $.77 for every $1. And the amount has been virtually unchanged for the past 13 years! This wage gap is impacting more and more families as women increasingly become the main wage earners in their households. You might think it is because women take jobs that are traditionally lower-wage like the retail or fast food. But even in jobs that pay higher wages and take more skill, women lag men.
For instance, female computer programmers make $.05 cents less than their male colleagues, and female financial advisors make $.42 cents less! Within a year of college graduation, women fall behind male counterparts across all segments of the labor market. And the wage gap is even greater for women of color.
Over the past 10 years, members of congress have introduced legislation to eliminate the wage gap–most recently in April, 2014 by Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. The bill died in a procedural move in November, 2014.
April 14, 2015 is “Equal Pay Day”. You can mark the day by wearing red because women are still “in the red” when it comes to wages. Link HERE for more information on the gender pay gap from the Department of Labor.