March 24 is Equal Pay Day. This day signifies the day in the new year in which women have to work in order to equal the pay men earned at the end of last year. That means that women earn 82 cents for each one dollar men earn.
How do specific demographic groups fare?
The AAUW Equal Pay Day Calendar website details how specific groups add up (get it...."add up"). The information below is taken directly from the website.
Asian American and Pacific Islander women are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
Mothers are paid 70 cents for every dollar paid to fathers.
Black women are paid 63 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
Native women are paid 60 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
Latinas are paid 55 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
The Center for American Progress corroborates the information used by the AAUW. It further notes that its data come from the 2018 Census Bureau data. According to the Center for American Progress, "This calculation is the ratio of median annual earnings for women working full time, year round to those of their male counterparts, and it translates to a gender wage gap of 18 cents."
There is a discrepancy in these data also. If you take a look at The Center for American Progress' demographic breakdown, it differs from the AAUW data slightly as follows:
Asian American and Pacific Islander women are paid 90 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
White women are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to fathers.
Black women are paid 62 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
Native women are paid 57 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
Latinas are paid 54 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
As a note, I did look at additional sources to see if the data were the same. The StatusOfWomen.org website noted that the pay gap is 78.3 That is for every $1.00 a man earns, a woman earns $0.78. It could be that the data presented by Status of Women notes white women. It was not clear.
Why does a pay gap matter?
First of all, it's not fair. Secondly, it reduces overall family income, provides lower lifetime earnings for women, and causes higher poverty rates.
You may say, well, 79 cents isn't that bad for me as a white woman, but if you look at what that means over a lifetime of earning, the picture is clearer....and more disturbing as this graphic from The Center for American Progress indicates. (Taken from this page of its website.)
That's quite a bit of money to leave on the table for doing equivalent work. That's the key....this gap exists for people doing equivalent work. This isn't comparing the CEO of Starbucks with a female barista.
Our representatives in Washington, D.C. have been working on legislation to eliminate the pay gap such as the Paycheck Fairness Act. Women empowering women and talking about salaries also helps. Men need to be involved also. As with most things, this doesn't change without everyone at the table recognizing there is an issue and agreeing to make meaningful and effective reform.