March 24 is Equal Pay Day—as ever, the occasion for a resoundingly sarcastic “woohoo.” If you start counting on January 1, 2020, Equal Pay Day marks the day on which women have been paid as much as men had been paid by December 31, 2020. Women working full-time and year-round make, on average, 82 cents for every dollar men make.
Soccer stars including Megan Rapinoe are testifying about equal pay before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday, as well as meeting with President Joe and Dr. Jill Biden at the White House. Members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team recently settled part of a lawsuit dealing with unequal working conditions, but are appealing to have equal pay addressed in court. They appear in the immediate wake of a scandal over the unequal treatment of players in the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.
“I feel like I pull on this shirt for equal pay and for the fans and for kids who want to be in my position,” Rapinoe recently told ESPN. “So that never feels in conflict.”
While March 24 is Equal Pay Day for all U.S. women in 2021, inequality isn’t just a gender thing.
- Asian American and Pacific Islander Women’s Equal Pay Day was on March 9. They’re paid 85 cents for every dollar men are paid.
- Mothers’ Equal Pay Day won’t be until June 4. Mothers make 70 cents for a dollar earned by fathers.
- Black Women’s Equal Pay Day is August 3, to reflect the 63 cents they are paid compared to a dollar for a white man.
- Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day comes September 8—it’s 60 cents for them.
- Latina Equal Pay Day isn’t until October 21—55 cents for every dollar paid to white men.
This all adds up to huge lifetime losses. If you translate today’s pay gaps into a 40-year working life, the National Women’s Law Center calculates:
This is already a crisis situation, and it’s been compounded by the unequal harms of the coronavirus pandemic, which have hit women especially hard—and especially Black and brown women. Biden's infrastructure plan, surprisingly, could help undo some of the damage, but women—and the economy they’re such an important part of—need an even broader set of policy fixes, including equal pay legislation, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, anti-discrimination policies with real teeth that will get the attention of employers, and much more.