Equal Pay Day 2023: Moving Toward Gender Pay Equity

By Barbara Bagdon posted 03-10-2023 04:38 PM


Tuesday, March 14, 2023, is Equal Pay Day in the United States. Equal Pay Day represents the date when the average woman’s earnings for the current year, combined with the amount she earned in the previous year, equal what the average man earned during the previous year 

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) has found that a gender pay gap is present in every state, in every age range, and across all educational levels. The most current U.S. Census figures show that, on average, white women working full time earn just 84% of what a typical man working full time earns. Therefore, it takes an average white woman almost 16 months to earn what a typical man earns in 12 months. The pay gap is greater for the average woman who works part-time or on a seasonal basis and is paid just 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. For women of color or women in other disadvantaged groups, the pay gap is even more dramatic. For example, black women working full-time are paid just 67 cents on the dollar, making the Black Women’s Equal Pay Day July 27. Latina Equal Pay Day is October 5, and Native Women’s Equal Pay Day is November 30. Although there was not enough Census data to make calculations, June 15 is designated LGBTQIA+ Equal Pay Awareness Day to raise awareness about the wage gap experienced by persons who identify as LGBTQIA+ 

One of the key factors contributing to the gender pay gap is occupational segregation. Women tend to work in fields that pay less, such as education and administrative support, while men tend to work in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), which pay more. However, even within the same occupations, men tend to make more than women. According to Deborah Swerdlow, a nonprofit advocacy professional in Washington, D.C, economists attribute 38% of the gender wage gap to gender discrimination, which, although prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, still occurs either intentionally or due to unconscious bias. 

What can be done to close the gender wage gap? Twenty-one states, including Colorado and California, have enacted salary history bans to prevent prospective employers from basing salaries on past earnings and perpetuating the gender pay gap. In addition, eight states, including Colorado and California, have passed pay transparency laws requiring that job postings include salary ranges. One of the most effective tools to identify unexplained pay gaps, though, is for employers to conduct annual pay equity audits to identify areas of concern so that systemic changes can be made at the organizational level as well as the individual employee level to shrink any pay gaps identified 

Employers Council has a dedicated team that can help you conduct a pay equity analysis. By taking affirmative steps to identify and correct inequities in their workplaces, employers can lead the way to making December 31 of each year Equal Pay Day for all employees. If you have any questions, please email the Employers Council Member Experience Team.