Am I being paid less than my male colleagues for the same work?
That’s the question women will be thinking about on Equal Pay Day, Tuesday, April 2. It’s another reminder – this one from the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) – that women are making less than men.
NCPE poses a question on its website: “What could you be making?” then includes a handy link to a Gender Pay Gap Calculator, giving women the up-to-date salary they could be paid if there was no pay gap.
Recent pay gap gains
But here’s some good news: There have been gains toward pay equity just in the last several months that are giving this Equal Pay Day an extra shot of energy:
- Citigroup, the fourth largest bank, revealed in January it pays women 29% less, and is now taking steps to correct its inequities. (Previously, other companies, including SalesForce, Starbucks, SAP, Adobe and others, have announced they’re taking steps to level the playing field.)
- In March, the EEOC made a surprise ruling, ordering employers to report pay data information to assess complaints of existing pay disparities.
- Last week, the House passed a new bill, The Paycheck Fairness Act, that would ban employers from asking job applicants how they previously made and prohibit companies from retaliating against workers who share wage information. (The bill still needs to be passed in the Senate.)
Women’s paychecks are “in the red”
Yes, there’s been progress, but what can women in leadership do to get closer to pay equity?
Wear red: This year, the NCPE is asking supporters to wear red (as you might have seen Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wear on the day she celebrated the passing of The Paycheck Fairness Act) on Equal Pay Day to symbolize that women are “in the red” with their paychecks. When this NCPE’s public awareness campaign launched in 1996, women were earning 59 cents for every dollar men earned. Now it’s 77 cents.
Challenge your employers: Urge upper management to conduct a pap equity self-audit to examine their pay practices. The NCEP offers a 10-step guide to evaluate a company’s compensation system, pay grades and development opportunities in order to implement changes.
Prepare for your employer for change: If the new bill, The Paycheck Fairness Act, is made into law, the Department of Labor will uncover wage discrimination on a national level, but a recent crop of state and local laws are requiring “same job, same pay” – the slogan of the new bill. Almost all states have equal pay laws on the books and more and more employers are attempting the close the gap on their own. Why wait?
One thing to keep in mind, as you think about what you can do to close the gap: The Institute for Women’s Policy Research says it could take as long as 108 years for the gender pay gap to close.