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Media Release: Women Allowed into Combat Jobs: But Still Fight for Equality at Home

Media Release: Women Allowed into Combat Jobs: But Still Fight for Equality at Home

Immediate Release: April 5, 2013 Contact: Susan Berryman Rodriguez (404) 222.0030/susan@9to5.org

9to5 to Protest Discrimination on Equal Pay Day, April 9

MILWAUKEE, April 5, 2013 – 9to5 and its allies will be protesting the pay gap that is robbing working women and their families an average of $11,000 annually. In observance of Equal Pay Day on April 9, 2013, 9to5 members are speaking out in California, Colorado, Georgia, Wisconsin and 14 other states calling for Congress to pass the federal Paycheck Fairness Act to end pay disparities.

Sara*, a veteran of the armed forces and a top-earning sales representative, was denied an annual commission even though her male co-workers got one. While women are breaking down barriers, pay discrimination continues to be a real and persistent problem that shortchanges American women. Women earn less than men in every state and region of the country. And in 2012, the weekly earnings gap widened for women overall at all levels of education and across all occupations.

“While women in combat are fighting overseas for freedom and equality, achieving equal pay for equal work is one war that we shouldn’t have to fight for at home,” said Linda Meric, national executive director of 9to5.

Even when working in male dominated fields that pay more like engineering or computer programming, women still earn less. Leisa, an electrical engineer, worked as a contractor for NASA at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Only after she changed jobs did she find out that her male co-worker, with 20 years less experience, was earning $25,000 more than her.

  • When women are paid less than men, it hurts their families and the economy. Women lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, up to over a million, over their careers. That means less money to make ends meet and achieve economic security for families. And since women make three-quarters of family purchasing decisions, it means less money is spent in our local economies.
  • Women earned 77 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2011 annual earnings. For women of color the gap is even wider – African-American woman earned only 69 cents and Latinas just 60 cents for every dollar earned by all men in 2011.
  • In six out of ten families, a mother is the primary or co-breadwinner.
  • The typical woman loses $431,000 in pay over a 40-year career .
  • Since 2001, the gender pay gap has narrowed by only about one percentage point. At this rate, it will take another 45 years for women to earn as much as men.

Recently re-introduced in Congress in January 2013, the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 84/H.R. 377) would play a critical role in our nation’s economic recovery. “Every penny counts as working families and the middle class struggle to lift themselves up and out of the economic recession. And since more women are primary family breadwinners or co-breadwinners than ever before, there is an urgent necessity to end wage discrimination now,” Meric said.

9to5 will be in the following cities speaking out about the pay gap:

Atlanta, GA
Asheville, NC
Austin, TX
Baltimore, MD
Bowdon, GA
Burlington, VT
Chicago, IL
Cleveland, OH
Denver, CO
Detroit, MI
Eau Claire, WI
Indianapolis, IN
Los Angeles, CA
Long Island, NY
Madison, WI
Menomonie, WI
Milwaukee, WI
Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix, AZ
Portland, OR
San Jose, CA
Tryon, NC
Warren, OH
Washington, DC
Wausau, WI

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About 9to5: With forty years’ experience in winning justice for working women, 9to5 leads the way to create a powerful force for change on issues affecting low-wage women and their families. 9to5 organizes women to lead campaigns for family-supporting jobs with decent wages and paid sick days; stronger protections against workplace discrimination; and a strong safety net for low-income families. As one of the largest, most respected national membership organizations of working women in the U.S., we’ve won real changes since the hit song and movie based on 9to5 hit the charts. To learn more or to get involved, visit 9to5.org and find us on Facebook and Twitter.

About Equal Pay Day: Tuesday April 9, 2013, is Equal Pay Day, the date we recognize and protest the wage gap that exists between working women and men and between workers of color and white workers across the country. Tuesday symbolizes how far into a second week a woman must work, on average, to earn as much as a man earned in the previous week. April represents how far into a new year women must work to earn what men earned just in the previous year. Protestors and advocates wear red to show that pay for women and people of color is still in the red.

About The Paycheck Fairness Act: The bill would close loopholes in our existing equal pay laws, prohibit retaliation against workers who ask about or share wage information, and empower women to better negotiate salary and benefit increases.

*Pseudonym