U.S. Government Highlights Equal Pay Day

Today is Equal Pay Day, which started in 1996 to raise awareness about the wage gap. With women making 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns, a woman has to work 600 extra hours in 2011 to make what men did in 2010 according to Ms. Magazine. This must be corrected.

Melody Barnes, President Obama’s domestic policy adviser and director of the Domestic Policy Council addresses the issue on the White House blog. She writes:

And the pay gap isn’t just a women’s problem, it’s a burden on families.  In 2010, when women make up nearly half the workforce, two-thirds of American families with children rely on women’s wages as a significant portion of the family income.  As we emerge from one of the worst recessions in American history, when families are struggling to pay their bills and save for the future, pay inequality only deepens that struggle and hampers our nation’s ability to fully recover.  The last thing our families can afford is to take home less pay because of discrimination.

Hilda Solis, the U.S. Secretary of Labor, also addressed the issue today in this video, which breaks down how families are impacted by the wage gap.

Of course, both pieces also talk up what President Obama has done in the past couple of years to close the gap. But there’s obviously still more to do.

With so many women in PR (and in light of this lawsuit), this is an important issue for the industry to tackle. We’ve discussed it previously with posts here and here, which contain more info. The Business and Professional Women’s Foundation has a few links for organizing events and a link to a story about negotiating pay.