The Dire Consequences of Paying Women Less for Equal Work
Arvia Walker and Gretchen Raffa
It is unacceptable that in 2016 we still face such a huge wage gap in this country. Today, Black women earn about 63 cents for every dollar earned by a white man; Latinas earn about 54 cents; and white women earn about 78 cents. Despite passage of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the "gender gap" in pay still persists for women -- and for women of color in particular.
In recognition of National Equal Pay Day, PPSNE urges lawmakers to support public policy that will improve the health and economic well-being of women and families in Connecticut. It’s time to close the gender gap to ensure women get equal pay for equal work and also to pass policy that ensure families in our state have the resources they need to thrive. A new study of Census Bureau data from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) shows that, based on today’s median wage gap, women can expect to lose $430,480 over the course of a 40-year career compared to what the typical white men makes during the same time period. For African American women, that gap grows to $877,480. Latinas, meanwhile, leave more than $1 million on the table.
Every person deserves the right to a livable wage to care for themselves and their family with dignity. Women and mothers are essential contributors to their families’ economic security and their state’s economy. We know firsthand, through patients we see in our health centers, the juggling act people have to play each month, despite working full time, to pay their bills and meet their basic needs and access healthcare.
That is why during this legislative session PPSNE is working in coalition with community members and advocates to pass paid family medical leave so workers can take time off to care for a sick loved one or after the birth of a child, to increase the minimum wage and tipped minimum wage, and to end taxes on diapers and feminine hygiene products which disproportionately impact women.
We are also proud to be a member of the CT Fair Chance Coalition working to pass legislation for fair hiring policies. As advocates for reproductive freedom, we know that policies and practices that bar individuals from obtaining employment negatively affect the entire family. According to the Center for American Progress, one in three Americans carries the burden of a criminal record, and nearly half of American children have a parent with a criminal record. These families suffer lifelong consequences, including barriers to housing, education, and employment, among others. To realize true reproductive freedom, all people must have the opportunity to provide for themselves and their families, .
We will continue to push Congress and the Connecticut General Assembly to pass policies that will close the wage gap and promote and protect economic security for women and families in our state. We will not rest until we have ensured that our state and our country is equitable and just for all.