Equal Pay Day is a date that changes each year based on how far into the year the average woman must work to earn what the average man earned in the previous year. On a national level, women are paid only 80 cents for every dollar a man is paid, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So, because women earn less, they must work longer for the same pay.
This year, Equal Pay Day falls on April 2, 2019 – which means the average woman has to work approximately a quarter of the year before catching up to the average man’s earnings.
Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the pay gap between the wages of men and women. Equal Pay Day is always in April to symbolize how far into the year a woman must work to earn the same money as a male counterpart made in the previous year. Similarly, Equal Pay Day is always on a Tuesday to represent how far into the workweek a woman must work to earn what men earned the previous week.
Despite the Equal Pay Act – signed back in 1963 – the gender pay gap persists. Enforcement of the Equal Pay Act, state pay equity laws, and other civil rights laws have helped to narrow the gender pay gap, but there is still room for improvement. Employers should audit employees’ wages at least annually to ensure women and men are paid equally for comparable work.