Observing Equal Pay Days

By Taylor Jones ’21

The United States doesn’t pay women enough. Unfortunately the “land of opportunity” is not an even playing field for everyone. Here, if you’re a woman, you are likely going to make less money on the dollar than a non-minority man. On average, a woman makes about $0.81 for every dollar a White man makes (Escobedo and Lee), and decreases dependent on race. Asian American women earn the most, with $0.90 on the White man’s dollar; White women are next with $0.79; Black women follow with $0.62. Native American and Latina women earn the least with $0.57 and $0.54, respectively (NPWF). 

These gaps in wages have led to the creation of “equal pay days.” The “equal pay day” comes from a 1996 push for women’s equality made by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) to spread awareness of America’s wage gap. Every year there’s a date marked to represent how much longer into the new year a woman must work to reach what a White man earns by December 31.

The calendar will enlighten, and maybe dishearten, you as the wage gaps demonstrate oppression in the United States. 

What a White man makes by Dec. 31, 20xx:

  • Asian women make by Feb. 11, 20xy
  • The average of all American women is made by Mar. 31, 20xy
  • White women make by Jun. 24, 20xy
  • Black women make by Aug. 13, 20xy
  • Native women make by Oct. 1, 20xy
  • Latina women make by Oct. 29, 20xy 

The disparity between Native American and Latina women and everyone else is hard to ignore. While all women are being underpaid,  Natives and Latinas are 10 months behind White men! America’s work system has failed them. 

How can we all unite to dismantle this racist and sexist system? Let’s stand up against the injustices faced by the women, especially Natives and Latinas. Our voices and our votes can make a difference. There should not be a “man’s dollar” and everyone else’s cents- it’s time to make real change for the people who need it most.

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