International Pay Day occurs on September 18 every year. The Equal Pay International Coalition began this holiday in 2019 to raise awareness about this persistent issue. Their goal is to end pay gap discrimination. This day sheds light on how the pay gap impacts women of color and other minorities. While many organizations are working hard to close the gender pay gap, there are still many Americans who deny its existence. For that reason, people must educate themselves and those around them. If many people don’t see an issue, fixing it will be even more difficult.
History of International Equal Pay Day
International Equal Pay Day falls on September 18 of every year. This day is dedicated to raising awareness about unequal pay to women and pushing to close the gender pay gap. In the U.S., women earned about $0.82 for every dollar a man made in 2019. The pay gap for women also varies by race, ethnicity, and disability. Those paid the least in the U.S. are Hispanic women who are currently paid 57% of what a white man makes. The problem with the wage gap is that it affects many families throughout generations, where women of color accumulate less wealth on average. This pay gap is prominent in nearly all occupations and industries, but especially in male-dominated ones. Female surgeons are annually paid $19 billion less than their male counterparts.
When determining wages, employers have to ensure that affirmative defenses apply. This means that differences in pay can be acceptable when factoring in seniority and job description. If the pay gap is contingent on the sex of the employees, the employer must raise a woman’s pay instead of reducing a man’s pay.
In 1983, legislation called the Equal Pay Act stated that employees of all sexes should be paid the same for jobs with similar working conditions and requiring the same amount of skill, effort, and responsibility. The 1964 Civil Rights Act improved on this legislation as Title VII of this act prohibited the discrimination of people based on race, religion, color, or sex. This is important. Women of color have often been neglected when discussing the gender wage gap as they are paid even less than white women.
International Equal Pay Day timeline
Title VII of this act specifies that no one should be discriminated against based on race, religion, color, or sex.
This legislation states that people should be compensated with the same amount for the same work — overtime pay, bonuses, and any other benefits.
The Paycheck Fairness Act is proposed but never enacted.
The U.N. establishes September 18 as International Equal Pay Day.
International Equal Pay Day FAQs
What are the main reasons for the gender pay gap?
Childcare and child-rearing are still regarded as the mother’s job. The unequal responsibility means women get fewer opportunities and end up in part-time jobs or lower-paid jobs.
Is there a gender pay gap in sports?
Women in sports tend to be paid less for the same amount of work. Professional female athletes have been vocal about this issue. Male athletes also receive higher bonuses when they qualify for the world cup.
Is it legal to discuss your salary with co-workers?
The National Labor Relations Act allows employees to discuss their salary if they wish and their employer can’t ban them from doing so. However, this can cause issues in the workplace, so proceed with caution.
How to Observe International Equal Pay Day
Exercise your rights
Email your congressional representatives and voice your opinion. Help pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which will help end pay discrimination against women and people of color.
Donate to Equal Rights Advocates, a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing women’s rights. They advocate for legislation like the Paycheck Fairness Act that ends discrimination against women.
Start a conversation
Educate those around you about the gender pay gap and encourage those who disagree to do their own research. The more people understand the pay gap, the more they will support the cause. If people don’t know about the damage the pay gap causes, they will not act on it.
5 Facts About The Gender Pay Gap
The pink tax
Feminine versions of the same product are more expensive simply because they’re for women.
Eliminating the gender pay gap
If the gender pay gap were to be eliminated, women would receive enough money for a year of child care or nine months’ worth of rent, yearly.
It benefits everyone
If the gender wage gap closed, poverty for American working women would be reduced by half.
Mothers have it the worst
Working mothers earn 75 cents for every dollar and single mothers earn 54 cents.
It gets worse as women get older
The widest age gap for women is for those aged 55 to 64 — this also affects their pension.
Why International Equal Pay Day is Important
Not all believe there’s a pay gap
The U.S. Census Bureau confirms the pay gap. Despite the plethora of evidence and statistics, 46% of American men and 30% of American women believe the age gap is made up. This day highlights the issue and makes people think about it.
It teaches us about related issues
On top of receiving less pay, women are being charged more for the same services. Women are charged more for interest rates for mortgage loans, hygiene products, clothes, and salon services. This day makes us aware of these issues.
The pay gap supports systemic racism
The gender pay gap is directly linked to racism in America as the majority of those affected are women of color. If people of color are generally paid less, this affects their health, education, and opportunities in life. Only awareness will change it as people lobby against unfairness.
International Equal Pay Day dates