Women working full time, year round earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. And it’s even less for women of color. Over the course of a 35 year career, a woman with a college degree will make an average of $1.2 million less than a man with the same level of education. If women earned equal pay for equal work, our economy could grow, boosting GDP by 2.9 percent or $450 billion.
Too many of us are working harder than ever just to keep up. But one of the most effective ways to help families get ahead, weather the ups and downs of the economy, and set our kids up for success is to make sure women earn equal pay for equal work.
We’ve all got a stake in ending gender discrimination in pay. Women make up about half of our workforce. When women make less than men that hurts their families. They’ve got less to get by on. It hurts businesses because their customers have less to spend. We do better when everybody has a fair shot, when our economy works for all of us.
Today, more women are their family’s main breadwinner than ever before. But on average, women are still earning just 77 cents on every dollar that a man does. And it’s still wrong. This isn’t 1958, it’s 2014.
Our economy hasn’t caught up to that reality yet. Outdated workplace policies are holding women and their families back. That has to change—because it holds all of us back. It begins with a simple principle—women should earn equal pay for equal work.
THINK ABOUT IT: You’re teaching your daughter that she can make her dreams come true with hard work—yet women still earn less than men in almost every job. Gender discrimination in pay still remains, even though it’s illegal. Give all children a fair shot. Let’s hold employers accountable and make it harder to discriminate against women.
Women are the sole or equal breadwinners in the great majority of families, yet women working at all income levels tend to be paid less. It should not be more difficult for women and their families to get ahead. Everyone who works hard should get a fair shot to succeed and provide for their families. It’s illegal to pay women less, but gender discrimination in pay exists. It’s time to make equal pay for equal work a reality.
Here are a couple of examples of stories folks have shared with us:
“Sarah spent 8 years working at a restaurant. She started at the bottom and worked her way up to shift supervisor. When the restaurant expanded, the owner brought in a second supervisor —a man with half of Sarah’s experience, but he was paid more.”
“Laura had an identical degree as her husband, and landed the exact same job, with the same company, as her husband. What wasn’t identical? Their pay. Even though she actually had more experience in the field, her husband was offered 13 percent more.”
There are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs, but too many families are barely getting by. Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs, but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged. It’s time for policies that help families get ahead and to build an economy that works for all of us.
Raising the minimum wage and ending discrimination in pay bring us closer to giving all families the fair shot they need at success.
When we do not get involved, we send a message that we are happy with things as they are and do not want them to change. We need to send a message that we need equal pay for equal work and other policies to help families get ahead.