The fight for equal pay: why is it important and what can I do?
What would you do with 20+ percent more pay each paycheck?
That’s the current question that women and marginalized groups in Minnesota are considering and fighting for during Equal Pay Day, on April 10, 2018, the day that marks the point where women will have earned as much as men made during all of 2017.
Yeah, you read that right. On average it takes almost 16 months for white women to make as much money as a man does in one year. It takes even longer for women of color, women with a disability, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community to close that gap.
Now, we’ve heard our share of naysayers to this statistic, and we know you have too, but it’s time for some real-talk folks. You can even back it up with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’
in-depth report on Minnesota wages for 2016 here.
If charts and graphs aren’t your thing, here are the fast facts that you need to know:
- On average women make $400,000 less over a 40-year career -- and that’s just comparing white women to white men who work in the same roles
- On average, across the United States, Asian women earn 87 cents, White women earn 79 cents, Black women earn 63 cents and Latina women earn 54 cents on the dollar compared to their white, male, and able-bodied counterparts
- The American Institutes of Research determined in a study that those with disabilities earn about 63 cents on the dollar compared to their counterparts and only had a 27 percent employment rate at the time of the last census results in 2011
- Reports indicate that LGBTQIA individuals continue to battle discrimination in the workplace which can negatively impact their earning power, but since few federal surveys are conducted about gender identity and sexual orientation this continues to be a disputed point. The non-profit organization PowHer, which aims to raise women’s profile in business and level the wage-gap playing field have done their own research supporting this information.
Now, that’s a lot to process, but take heart fellow resisters, the fight for equal pay for equal work took root in Minneapolis over the last year with the $15Now movement. There’s currently a battle underway to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Saint Paul, but we need your help.
Take Action Locally:
- Contact your legislator and the MN Legislative Leadership and tell them why bills ensuring gender equality under the law (i.e. Equal Rights Amendment) should be passed in Minnesota
- Support businesses run by women, particularly women of color.
- Tip generously.
What can you do nationally?
- Let your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative know why you want them to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, S.819/H1869.
- These two bills would update the Equal Pay Act of 1963 to prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee for discussing their salary with another employee, restrict blanket defenses by employers who argue that pay differences are due to reasons other than sex, and provide other tools to strengthen protections against gender-based pay discrimination Both Sen. Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar are co-sponsors of the Senate version of the bill.
- Raise the minimum wage
- The average minimum wage worker is 36 years old, 38% are over 40 years, and 57% are women. Raising the minimum wage would greatly impact women.
- ACTION – Help $15Now in the fight for $15 minimum wage in St Paul. Attend a meeting on April 10th, 6:30 – 8 p.m. at East Side Freedom Library, 1105 Greenbriar Street, St Paul to find out more.
- Provide quality, affordable, childcare and family leave
- ACTION – talk to your legislators about how important it is to have quality, affordable childcare so that more women can work better jobs.