In addition to celebrating Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day this month, Equal Pay Day falls on March 24 this year for all women in the U.S.
In 1996, the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) first observed Equal Pay Day as a symbolic way to raise awareness about the gender wage gap and push toward equal pay.
Equal Pay Day marks how far into the year women would have to work to earn the same as men did in the previous year. Therefore, it would take an additional three months for the average woman in the U.S. to earn the same amount as the average man does in 2020. In a typical 9:00-5:00 workday, this would mean that women begin working for free starting at 2:40 pm.
However, even greater disparities exist for women from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Women of color experience larger gender wage gaps and must work even longer to earn the same amount as men. Equal Pay Day for different racial and ethnic groups reveal how many days women have to work into the next year to receive the same earnings as white men.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Pay Day falls on March 9, 2021. On average, Asian American and Pacific Islander women make $0.85 for every dollar made by a white man.
Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is August 3, 2021. Black women typically earn $0.63 for every dollar that a white man earns.
Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day falls on September 8, 2021. Native women, on average, are paid $0.60 for every dollar paid to white men.
Latina Equal Pay Day is on October 21, 2021. As the last Equal Pay Day observance of the year, Latinas experience the greatest pay disparity, as Latinas typically earn $0.55 for every dollar earned by white men.
These wage discrepancies highlight the unequal financial power between men and women in the workforce. The gender wage gap persists, despite the Equal Pay Act being passed over half a century ago. In the U.S. Women in the U.S. earn 82 cents for every dollar that a man earns. Furthermore, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that pay equity will not be reached until 2059.
Although progress has been made over the years, the fight for economic equity must continue until all women earn the same as their male equivalents.
— Sophia Zhang, Advocacy Intern