As some of you may know, April 8 was Equal Pay Day. The date by which the average U.S. woman had to work this year in order to earn the same as the average man earned in 2013. There was some noise made about it this year but, all and all, it didn’t really come to anything. I guess, if nothing else, my low-life Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) was nice enough to tell us that he thinks women don’t deserve equal pay.
You can argue that if you get rid of women who never had children the pay narrows, and if you get rid of women who have never married the pay gap closes from 77% to 96%, but why would we only selectively remove women that that have made these choices? To make the correct comparison, you would need to compare women without children to men without children. (I couldn’t find that data.) And you can’t simply argue that women are choosing to work at low paying jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women get paid less for the same job, even at positions where they outnumber men.
Think about the families that you know. In 40% of families with children, a woman is the primary earner. That is an awful lot of households that could be earning more money. To make it even harder, about 33% of these children don’t have a father figure to off set their mother’s missing wages. The impact is even greater on low income families that are already financially stressed. According to thinkprogress.org, “[m]ore than 7.5 million families with children under age 6 live on the financial brink, including four out of every five single mothers with young children.“ Just closing the wage gap would “cut the poverty rate in half for working women.”
Wage disparity tends to be even worse for most women of colour. When you compare the income of men and women of the same race, the men always earn more than the women. Only Asian American women fare better (87%) than the average — 77% when compared to white men — but they still only earn 79% of what Asian American men earn. Hispanic/Latina women have the largest pay gap — they make only $0.53 for every dollar that a white man makes. 37% of American Indian, 34% of all Hispanic/Latino children and 40% of all African American/Black children in the United States lived in poverty in 2012. Since women make up 40% of the primary money earners in these households, ending wage disparity could move millions of children out of poverty.
I get upset when I think about the wage gap.
It bothers me that even women managers don’t fairly negotiate wages with their female employees.
And I am pissed off to no end that people will make stupid excuses when families are suffering and children are left going hungry.
Image Credit: Ed Yourdon on Flickr, under Creative Commons