Everything You Need to Know About Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day is dedicated to symbolizing and raising awareness of the gender pay gap in most countries throughout the world.[1] The first year of observation was 1996 and was started by the National Committee on Pay Equity.[2] The group comprises labor unions, civil rights advocates, and professional associations, all determined to eliminate wage discrimination and achieve true pay equality.[3]

Observation in the United States

In the United States, the date for Equal Pay Day is chosen to symbolize the date in the year that a woman would have to work to earn what a man had in the previous year.[4] Each year the date will be different. The hope is that each year the date will get closer to the start of the year until the gap disappears. Equal Pay Day for 2021 will be March 24th, a week sooner than 2020.[5]

Women of Color

In some parts of the U.S., later dates are celebrated for women of color, who tend to suffer from an even larger wage gap. African and Black American women will celebrate their Equal Pay Day on August 3rd, which is the date they will make the same that white, non-Hispanic males did the previous year.[6]

Native American women will take even longer into the year to get to the threshold, with a date of September 8th.[7] The female class waiting for the longest are Latina women, who will not celebrate their Equal Pay Day until October 21st.[8]

What Are the Goals of Equal Pay Day Observance?

Equal Pay Day was created with many goals in mind to raise awareness about the gender wage gap that continues to be a problem in almost every country across the world. The observance of the day was created to:[9]

  • Create an awareness that the problem exists.
  • Provide the reasons the gap exists.
  • To gain more supporters.
  • To provide supporters with information.
  • To identify strategies to rectify the problem.
  • To ultimately close the gender gap.

It is important to note that pay differentials are common and permitted when they fall under the categories of seniority-based, merit-based, or are based on the quantity or quality of production. But when the basis for the wage difference is no other reason than the sex of the worker, wage discrimination is occurring.[10] Through the continued promotion and education of Equal Pay Day, the hope is that sexual wage discrimination will eventually become a thing of the past.





[1] https://www.pay-equity.org/day.html

[2] https://www.pay-equity.org/day.html

[3] https://worldwidewomen.co/organizations/2514/national-committee-on-pay-equity

[4] https://www.pay-equity.org/day.html

[5] https://women.ca.gov/equal-pay-day-events-information/

[6] http://www.equalpaytoday.org/black-womens-equal-pay-day-2021

[7] https://women.ca.gov/native-womens-equal-pay-day/

[8] http://www.equalpaytoday.org/latina-equal-pay-day-2021#:~:text=Latina%20Equal%20Pay%20Day%20%2D%2D,observed%20on%20October%2021%2C%202021.

[9] https://www.un.org/en/observances/equal-pay-day

[10] https://www.eeoc.gov/equal-paycompensation-discrimination


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