BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

How Does the Pay Gap Impact You?

Posted by espressodog on April 14, 2010

Equal Pay Day is held annually in April to designate the point into a year that a woman must work to earn what a man made the previous year. Equal Pay Day 2010 falls on April 20! In 2008, women working full-time, year-round earned only about 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.  Even though gender wage discrimination has been illegal since President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, the wage gap persists. Women earned 59 cents to every dollar earned by men in 1963, but progress has slowed and the gender wage gap widened slightly from 77.8 to 77.1 percent between 2007 and 2008.

What this means for you if you are:

  • An African American woman: You earn on average 61 cents for every dollar earned by a white man.
  • A Latina woman: You earn on average 52 cents for every dollar earned by a white man.
  • A newly minted MBA graduate: Women MBAs on average are paid $4,600 less on their first job than men.  
  • An Education major one-year out of undergrad: Women in this female dominated profession earn 95 percent as much as a male Education major one-year out of college.
  • A recent Biology major graduate: Women earn only 75 percent as much as men earn, just one year after graduation. In general, one year after college graduation, women earn only 80 percent of what their male counterparts earn. Ten years after graduation, women fall further behind, earning only 69 percent of what men earn.
  • A woman with children: Women with children earn about 2.5 percent less than women without children, while men with children enjoy an earnings boost of 2.1 percent, compared with men without children. 
  • A woman retiree: The gap between the average retirement income that men and women receive annually is $8,000. Two-thirds of this disparity can be attributed to the pay gap and occupational segregation.
  • A woman in the Life Sciences: Women earned from $6,000 to $15,000 less per year than men of similar levels of accomplishment in academic medicine. Over a 30-year career, an average female faculty member with a PhD would earn almost $215,000 less that a comparable male.
  • A woman in Wyoming, Louisiana or West Virginia: You live in states with some of the worst wage gaps and earn on average 37%, 35% and 33% less than your male counterparts. In California and DC you would be earning only 16% and 9% less.

What You Can Do! Educate yourself and your friends and mobilize to make a difference. Equal Pay Day is an excellent opportunity to organize activities and events to bring attention to the wage gap. BPW Foundation believes in a three pronged approach to addressing the issue of pay equity – pass legislation, work with employers and empower women.

Advocate and Raise Public Awareness

  • Write a letter to your Senator encouraging them to co-sponsor and vote for the Paycheck Fairness Act. 
  • Write an Op-Ed or Letter to the Editor
  • Blog and Tweet for Fair Pay – Send us your pay equity story!  What are you doing to commemorate Equal Pay Day? Why do you think it is important that men and women are paid equally? We will post a selection of submissions at www.YoungWomenMisbehavin.org. Send your submissions to info@youngwomenmisbehavin.org. Also tweet and post to Facebook about the importance of equal pay for women on April 20-Equal Pay Day.
  • Encourage your legislature/city council/mayor/county commissioner to issue a proclamation in support of Equal Pay Day

Empower Women

Work with Your Employer

  • Conduct a Workplace Equal Pay Audit – The Employer Pay Equity Self-Audit was developed to assist employers in analyzing their own wage-setting policies and establishing consistent and fair pay practices for all.
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