A Message from the IWPR President
Every year around this time, we observe equal pay day—the number of extra days into the year a woman has to work to earn what a man earned in the previous year. Black and Latina women have to work longer into the year to reach pay parity.
It’s estimated that it will take 39 years to close the pay gap. For Black and Latina women, it will take more than a century. What this means is that my daughter, and my daughter’s daughter will not see pay equity in their lifetimes. It shouldn’t have to take this long. We can all do more to accelerate the closing of the gap.
The current pandemic has highlighted the fragility of our healthcare system and the vulnerability of many lower-wage workers, many of whom are women. Lower-wage workers are less likely to have paid sick leave, the flexibility to “not work,” or savings to tide them over during an unforeseen economic crisis. What does this have to do with the pay gap you ask? Tons.
When there is a disparity in the earnings and wages of women compared to men, women are more economically vulnerable and insecure in times such as these. It’s less money in their pockets to provide for their families, buy basic necessities, and to get through an economic or financial emergency.
Over a lifetime, women will lose more than $1 million in earnings to the pay gap. For Black and Latina women, the loss is 3-4 times higher. At a very basic level, it is unfair. On another level, it should anger us all because it continues to persist on our watch–until now.
IWPR is committed to working with our partner organizations, corporations, employers, everyday men and women, and workers to win pay equity. Equal pay for equal work should be a value that we all should hold, and a fundamental right.
I plan to roll up my sleeves and work harder than ever to accelerate the closing of the pay gap through sound policies, such as the Paycheck Fairness Act, culture and narrative change, and more employer accountability.
Together, we can end wage inequality in our lifetime. I hope you can join us in our efforts.
C. Nicole Mason, PhD
Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR)