During a recent event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, the Department of Labor Women's Bureau joined other federal agencies to share information on the impact of unequal pay on the lives and finances of women. Women's Bureau Program Analyst Deborah Pascal told the audience, "When women are not paid the same amount as men it affects the entire family, from the ability to put food on the table to educating their children, as well as negative cumulative effects on her lifetime earnings and retirement benefits."
When the Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963, women were earning an average of 59 cents on the dollar compared to men. While women hold nearly half of today's jobs, and their earnings account for a significant portion of the household income that sustains the financial well-being of their families, they are still experiencing a gap in pay compared to men's wages for similar work. Today, women earn about 80 cents on the dollar compared to men — a gap that results in the loss of about $380,000 over a woman's career. For African-American women and Latinas, the pay gap is even greater.
Each year, National Equal Pay Day reflects how far into the current year women must work to match what men earned in the previous year. On National Equal Pay Day, we rededicate ourselves to carrying forward the fight for true economic equality for all.
For more on the Equal Pay Act, including tools and resources, visit the Department of Labor website on equal pay: http://www.dol.gov/equalpay/commitment/.