It is today, Tuesday, March 15, 2022 – the 73rd day of the year 2022 – that we can finally celebrate Equal Pay Day. This symbolic day, which was started by the National Committee on Pay Equality in 1996, is a day that denotes, on average, the number of days into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. In other words, it took women 438 days to earn what men earned in just 365 days last year.
According to statistics provided by the U.S. Census Bureau of Labor, between 2020 & 2021, women earned just 83 cents for every dollar her male counterpart earned – a penny more than the women’s median wage of 82 cents for every dollar men earned in 2019.
While this looks like progress on paper, this number is flawed and further emphasizes the growing gender inequality that exists in today’s workplace. Historically, this calculation only includes the median wages of full-time workers, excluding the 15.5 million women who worked part-time in 2020, and the nearly 2 million mothers who were forced to leave the workforce altogether to care for their children during the pandemic. While it is evident that the impact of COVID-19 was significant to working women in our country, it has merely cast a light on inequalities that have existed in our country for generations.
2022 Equal Pay Days
For 2022, the Equal Pay Day Coalition has adopted a new, more inclusive methodology, encompassing a broader cross-section of women, including those who work part-time, to represent a more accurate picture of how the gender pay gap impacts diverse communities.
Fortunately, the 2022 Equal Pay Days “have been designated using a new methodology”. According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the Equal Pay Day coalition adopted a new, more inclusive methodology this year, that encompasses a broader cross-section of women and recognizes that since COVID 19, the past method of calculating the wage gap fell short of accurately capturing the full picture.
It has been almost 60 years now since The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, which prohibited the discrimination of wages based on gender, yet according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Pay Gap Report of 2021, unless some serious changes are made, at the current rate of progress it will take us another 135.6 years for women to be making equal pay to men. This number increased by 36 years as a result of the pandemic.
It is up to the individual to start the fight for equality in the workplace if we don’t want to wait another 135+ years to see a change. While systemic change comes from the top, true change starts from the bottom up. it is up to the individual to advocate for themselves and negotiate salary and benefits packages that are aligned with their education and experience.
Unfortunately, the salary negotiation process is not a skill that is typically taught in school, leaving most job seekers in the dark on how to maximize their value and get paid what they are worth. On the local level, we need to advocate for more community outreach & professional development programs that educate & empower individuals to affirm their value & worth in the workplace by giving them the tools they need to succeed with Elevate’s new professional development program – Smart Salary Negotiations.