Equal Pay Day highlights wage gap

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Because more women head households than ever before, the continuing gender pay gap has become a "family issue", says Kyle Ciani, a women's and gender studies professor at Illinois State University. Organizers from the National Committee on Pay Equity chose a Tuesday in April for Equal Pay Day each year "to represent how far into the next work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week". "Gender wage gaps happen in nearly every workplace", says Emily Martin, vice president for education and workplace justice at the National Women's Law Center.

According to the 2016 Census data, year-round, full-time working women in 2015 earned only 80% of the earnings of year-round, full-time working men.

Business.org chose an inspirational woman from each state, and a few more from around the world, ahead of Equal Pay Day.

Do you struggle with the gender wage gap?

Right now, the discussion about pay disparity between men and women is causing frustration to rise nationwide.

According to a 2017 study by the Institute for Women's Police Research, the wage gap in SC will close in 70 years - by 2088 - if the earnings of men and women continue to change at the same rate they did from 1959 to 2015.

In an effort to close the gap, communities nationwide, including Erie County, are observing Equal Pay Day.

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When calculated using average salaries rather than median, the pay gap expands to just over $26,051, or about 31 percent. For women of color, advocating for paycheck fairness on Equal Pay Day is just the tip of the iceberg.

Women earn on average 79 cents for every dollar men earn.

Although the federal law was approved in 1963, Reinhardt concluded that the "financial exploitation of working women embodied by the gender pay gap continues to be an embarrassing reality of our economy".

It's a well-documented phenomenon that parenthood contributes to the wage gap.

Economists are increasingly examining the role of "occupational segregation", or how women and men are steered toward different occupations. Especially Latina and African-American women who are actually paid even less than 20% as well.

University of MA sociology professor Michelle Budig found women's earnings slip 4 percent for each child they have. This isn't a discussion about whether women should be paid equally or whether it is wrong for an employer to discriminate in pay against women. The one thing that has not changed is this expectation that when couples have children, it is the women who are going to step back and take care of them. The announcement came on Equal Pay Day.

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