9to5 | Media Release: Pay Gap to be Protested Across the Country
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Media Release: Pay Gap to be Protested Across the Country

Media Release: Pay Gap to be Protested Across the Country

Contact: Susan Berryman-Rodriguez ,(404) 222-0030, susan@9to5.org
April 12, 2012

9to5 is organizing people across the country to protest the pay gap that is shortchanging women an average of $10,000 annually; the equivalent of 88 weeks of groceries or 13 months of rent. In observance of Equal Pay Day on April 17, 2012, 9to5 members and allies are speaking out in California, Colorado, Georgia and Wisconsin and taking action nationwide for the need to pass proactive policies like the federal Paycheck Fairness Act to end pay disparities.

It’s been nearly a half a century since Congress made wage discrimination based on gender illegal. And yet women were paid 77 cents for every dollar men got paid in 2010 annual earnings. For women of color, the pay gap is even wider. African American women earned 67 cents and Latinas 58 cents for every dollar earned by white males, the highest earners.

“Elected officials and even some presidential candidates are rolling back the clock on women’s rights,” said Linda Meric, executive director of 9to5, National Association of Working Women. “In Wisconsin, legislators just repealed equal pay enforcement legislation, claiming that pay discrimination doesn’t exist and making absurd assertions that money is more important to men than to women. These kinds of attacks against women confirm that gender discrimination still occurs.”

Women are struggling more than ever during this economic crisis to support their families. In 34 percent of families, a woman is the sole breadwinner, so the pay gap makes an enormous difference in a family’s ability to make ends meet. Pay equity is good for the economy – it reduces poverty and stimulates the economy. It reduces stress-related health problems and health care costs. The World Economic Forum estimates closing the employment gender gap could increase U.S. GDP by up to 9 percent.

“Women don’t choose to earn less,” said Meric. “All women deserve to be paid fairly, and when they are, their families and the economy will win.”

The Federal Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 1519/S. 797) would eliminate loopholes that have undermined the effectiveness of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, protect workers who share wage information with each other, and help ensure that women get equal pay for equal work.

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Background on Equal Pay Day: Tuesday April 17, 2012 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.

Background on 9to5: 9to5, National Association of Working Women is one of the largest national membership-based organizations of working women in the U.S., creating a powerful force for change. Founded in 1973, 9to5 empowers women to organize and lead campaigns on family-friendly workplace policies, equal opportunity and economic security issues. To learn more visit 9to5.org or call the Job Survival Helpline at 800.522.0925.