Today’s post comes from Julie Vogtman. Julie is Senior Counsel for the Family Economic Security Program at the National Women’s Law Center. She works on a range of issues involving economic support for low-income women and their families, including minimum wage policies, unemployment benefits, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Follow the National Women’s Law Center on Twitter (@nwlc) and read more about Equal Pay Day on their blog.
April 9 is Equal Pay Day, representing the date in 2013 through which women must work to match what men earned in 2012, thanks to the persistent gap between men’s and women’s median earnings. Women working full time, year round in the United States are paid just 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, and the gap is even wider for women of color; black women working full time, year round are paid only 64 cents, and Hispanic women only 55 cents, for every dollar paid to their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts.
There are a number of steps the federal government can take to help close the wage gap and promote fair pay for women, like preventing and remedying pay and other discrimination (by, for example, passing the Paycheck Fairness Act) and expanding women’s access to growing, high-paying jobs that are nontraditional for their gender. And here’s another important measure to add to that list: raising the minimum wage.