April 14th is Equal Pay Day, when everyone and anyone who cares about gender pay equality advocates for women. Twitter was abuzz today with tweets from politicians, advocates, and not for profits demanding that politicians raise the bar and the wages of women.
The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963 by John F. Kennedy to avoid sex discrimination in pay. While it's not the only law that covers fair pay, it is a very significant one. It lay the foundation for the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, and Executive Order 11246 - all aimed at protecting women against unfair pay practices.
While the gender pay gap has narrowed by 18 percent points between 1979 and 2004, women are still earning less than men even in comparable positions. This still happens to be the case although more women are finishing college then men, running their own households, and steadily becoming the dominant breadwinners in many homes.
How can you help narrow this gap? If you're a woman, know your worth. Do your homework and search for a salary calculator to determine your pay before you accept a job. If you're already employed, request a merit raise if your pay falls below your worth. If you're male, speak up on behalf of women. Conversations go a long way in creating equality. If you're at a management level, advocate for equal pay and be sure your employees are being paid fairly. Lastly, hold your political leaders accountable. Mail or tweet your leaders and tell them how important equal pay is.
Women should not have to tolerate less pay if they have the same responsibilities, experience and education as their male peers, especially if they're single or trying to pay their bills. It's time we all got on board and made equal pay a priority. It's pathetic that women are still making less although legislation has been passed deeming it illegal. It's time we put a stop to discriminatory practices against all women. Lets work together to build a better place for the future of our daughters and sisters.