Finally Equal Pay Day in the United States! (Apr 17, 2012)
It has been just over a month since we celebrated Equal Pay Day in Switzerland at our Sister Republics conference in Bern March 7th. Forty one days later, April 17, it is Equal Pay Day in America. This illustrates the differential between our two countries on equal pay. It is just one of many we evaluate as we commit to move women in both our countries forward.
The fact that Equal Pay Day comes so much later in America is bad news for American women in the workforce. This day represents the additional time beyond the end of the previous year women must work to make what men made. In Switzerland, women had already made enough to match Swiss men by March 7th. In America, they needed to work a full 3.5 months, until April 17th. That means women in America have to work 15.5 months to make what men in America make in 12.
Interestingly, a recent analysis from the Center for American Progress suggests the pay gap is highest for women with more education. The lifetime wage gap for a woman who did not attend college or finish high school is $300,000. The lifetime wage gap for a woman with a bachelor's degree is $723,000.
In proclaiming Equal Pay Day, President Barack Obama underscored his efforts to offer legal remedies for this lifetime pay gap. He noted that the first bill he signed as President was the "The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, (which)… empowers women to recover wages lost to discrimination by extending the time period in which an employee can file a claim. In 2010, I was proud to create the National Equal Pay Task Force to identify and combat equal pay violations. The Task Force has helped women recover millions in lost wages, built collaborative training programs that educate employees about their rights and inform employers of their obligations, and facilitated an unprecedented level of inter-agency coordination to improve enforcement of equal pay laws."
For more information on the President’s Proclamation and Equal Pay Day in the United States go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cwg