April 9 marked Equal Pay Day, the date when women's earnings "catch up" to men's from the previous year. Women, on average, must work 15 months and nine days to earn what men in equivalent positions earn in one year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau of Labor Statistics, women working full time earn about $0.77 for every dollar men earn doing the same job. Women earn less than men do, on average, in every occupation.
It is time to recognize the economic realities of the 21st century. Employers must realize that women no longer work for "pin money" or "to get out of the house." Women are an essential part of every facet of every economic sector. Women are not spending their money on trinkets and trifles, but are paying off their college loans and supporting their families. Furthermore, women are increasingly the primary breadwinners in their households. It's time to end gender discrimination in the workplace and to end the pay gap. It's simply a matter of justice.
The YWCA works to empower women through advocacy and education. Please urge your members of congress to co-sponsor and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Fair Pay Act.
YWCA Westfield Executive Director