In 1996, the National Committee on Equal Pay started Equal Pay Day to draw attention to the chronic problem of the wage gap (which is currently at 77.4 cents). In short, the wage gap measures the difference in average pay of a full-time, year-round male worker, and a full-time, year-round female worker.
Consequently, it does account for women taking maternity leave (since they would not be year-round) and it does account for women working part-time or flexible schedules (because they would not be full-time).
It does not account for a few things:
- Inequalities in who does what type of jobs (i.e. more women are kindergarten teachers, kindergarten teachers make something between squat and diddly).
- Inequalities that are derived from time off that was taken in the past for maternal or child care. (i.e. you took time off last year to have a baby, and relatedly, your promotion was delayed until you’ve “caught up.”)
- Inequalities that are derived from negotiating differences (i.e. You and a dude were both offered $50K. You asked for $55K and got $52K, he asked for $60K and got $55K. Now he makes $3K more than you and don’t you feel dumb.)
These are not easy problems to solve. They are wrapped up in stigmas and stereotypes, folded into a cocoon of misguided protectionism, and nested in some baloney “science.”
So how should you celebrate this Equal Pay Day? Do two things. First, listen to the Lily Ledbetter NPR interview. Second, go here and figure out how much money you want to be making. Then, add $15K to account for the disservice you probably did yourself when you estimated. Then go ask for a raise.
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