June 10, 2013 was the 50th anniversary for the Equal Pay Act. 29 USC §206(d).
Despite the media hype about wives making more than their husbands, 50 years after its passage, there continues to be a very significant wage gap between men and women in the same jobs. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (the “IWPR”) , tracks the wage gap every year and publishes annual updated fact sheets. For 2012, the IPWR found the wage gap actually got wider from the previous year as women’s median weekly pay rate declined from 82.0 percent of men’s in 2011 to only 80.9 of men’s median weekly pay in 2012. http://www.iwpr.org/publications/pubs/the-gender-wage-gap-2012 While women: 1) make up nearly half of the workforce, 2) are the equal or main breadwinner in 4 out of 10 families and 3) have more college and graduate degrees than men, on average they earn only 77 cents for every dollar men earn. This is a 23 cents wage gap which amounts to billions of dollars every year and hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars less pay over the earning life of an individual woman worker. At the recent Equal Rights Advocates fundraiser luncheon on June 13, 2013 in San Francisco, guests were shown a dramatic movie short documenting the enormous loss of income unequal pay represents over the life of several young girls and what they could buy with all that lost income. The Real Cost of the Wage Gap.
The IWPR found a wage gap in virtually every occupation where earnings data is available to compare men’s and women’s earnings. It concluded that at the current rate of slow increase in women’s pay, it will take almost another 50 years–until 2057 to reach pay equity for women.
Women of color are even worse off: on average they earn only 62 cents for every dollar a man earns doing the same job. The Real Cost of the Wage Gap.