Today, more women are the main breadwinners for their families than ever before. But on average, employers still pay women 79 cents to every white man’s dollar. Black women earn 60 cents on the dollar (as compared to white men) and Hispanic women earn 55 cents on the dollar (as compared to white men). At this rate, women in the United States won’t see equal pay until 2059. We’re slated to have flying cars and humans on Mars first (no joke).
Without solutions that address the problem, we’re not just lagging behind – we’re staying behind. That means we need to sprint forward as fast as possible to catch up.
Knowledge is power. We’re calling for solutions that make information about pay more available so women know when they’re paid less.
As a result of last year’s Sony hack, which revealed unequal pay between male and female actors, Charlize Theron was able to negotiate a raise (more than $10 million dollars, to be exact) to get paid the same as her The Huntsman male co-star, Chris Hemsworth. Years earlier, Lilly Ledbetter fought in court because for two decades, she was paid less than men who did the same work she did at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. She only found out that she was paid less all those years because a colleague sent her an anonymous note. We shouldn’t have to rely on anonymous tipsters to reveal these disparities. Pay data should be available so employees can make sure they’re earning a fair wage, and to deter discriminatory practices.
We’re not talking about revealing people’s individual salaries—we’re talking about a public database that shows how much employers pay for different types of jobs broken down by sex, race and ethnicity. With this sort of data available, everyone can see whether they’re making a fair wage.
Congress should also pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would stop employers from retaliating against employees who share information about their wages, and would hold employers who do discriminate accountable.
Congress should also pass legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour and create one fair wage, rather than a separate wage for tipped workers. This is key for addressing the gender pay gap. Right now, two-thirds of people paid minimum wage are women. So are two-thirds of tipped workers. Add in the fact that women are the breadwinners in 80 percent of single-parent households, and that means women and families across the United States are struggling to make it work.