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  • Writer's pictureNicole Vorrasi Bates

Equal Pay Day 2022

March 15, 2022. Today is Equal Pay Day. The day the average full-time woman worker must work until to earn the same amount her white, non-Hispanic, male counterpart earned last year. 74 extra days.

Today is not a celebration. In fact, it is quite depressing – particularly when you take a hard look at the gender pay gap and actually break it down. It’s getting worse.

On average, women earned 83 cents in 2020 for every dollar earned by their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts. Based on the median full-time salary, that amounts to $417,000 over a 40-year career. Sadly, the gender pay gap has remained relatively stagnant for decades, decreasing by only eight cents since 1996.

When broken down by race, the numbers are more startling. As compared to every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts, Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) women earn 95 cents, white women 79 cents, Black women 64 cents and Native American and Latina women 57 cents. Over the course of a 40-year career, Latina women will lose an average of $1,156,440 as a result of the gender pay gap.

The numbers above are based on 2020 data for full-time, yearlong workers. Given the pandemic and the millions of jobs that were lost, they do not reflect how bad it actually is for women or the true extent of the pay gap.

When data from part-time and part-year workers is included (a better reflection of the workforce), the gender pay gap increased significantly: AANHPI women earn a mere 75 cents, white women 73 cents, Black women 58 cents, Native American women 50 cents, and Latina women 49 cents. That is an additional year of work for Latina women!

Sadly, many workers do not realize they are being underpaid as most employers keep pay information under wraps. In order to remedy these inequities, there are few key steps to take.

First, it is crucial that all employers be required to disclose pay information. A few States have some pay transparency requirements. Currently, California is considering a stronger legislative proposal (SB 1162) addressing some of these issues, including penalties for failure to make pay information publicly available.

In addition, forced arbitration and confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, which enable discrimination against women to secretly flourish without risk of exposure, should be prohibited in connection with any work-related claims.

Finally, to ensure that work-related unequal pay claims are subject to a strict scrutiny standard of review (with nearly a 30% greater success rate), we need the Equal Rights Amendment published. See our blog “Put Away The Pens.”

Sensing the theme? Yes, the Equal Rights Amendment is the first crucial step towards gender equality.

Women and girls cannot wait any longer.

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