Pay equity is being addressed more now than ever and the gender gap in pay has narrowed since 1980. Yet in 2018, women still only earned 85% of what men earned, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers in the United States. Based on this estimate, it would take an extra 39 days of work for women to earn what men did in 2018. And the earnings are even less for Native American, African American and Hispanic/Latina women.
More than fifty years after the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made discrimination illegal, a gender earnings gap remains. A recent analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) shows that when we look at wages across occupations women’s median earnings are lower than men’s in all of the 20 most common occupations for women, all the most common occupations for men, and in almost all occupations for which a gender wage gap can be calculated. The analysis found that in the lowest paid of the largest 20 occupations for women, Maids and Housekeepers ($503 per week), women are nine-in-ten workers (and face a wage gap of 10.6 percent); in the highest paid of the largest 20 occupations for men, Chief Executives ($2,402 per week), women are fewer than one-in-three workers (and face a wage gap of 24.4 percent).
Race and ethnicity compound the gender wage gap: According to the IWPR analysis Latinas in Service Occupations earn just 85 percent of Latinos’ median weekly earnings, who earn just 78.9 percent of White non-Hispanic men; Black women in Professional Occupations earn just 81.8 percent of Black men’s median weekly earnings who earn just 79.5 percent of White non-Hispanic men.
Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages. It was originally called “National Pay Inequity Awareness Day” and changed to Equal Pay Day in 1998. Family Friendly New Mexico includes pay equity in the Family Friendly Business Award® and encourages all New Mexico businesses to begin to understand the wage gap and address it in the following ways:
- Evaluate pay based on job classification and gender
- Allow employees to discuss pay with coworkers
- Comply with the New Mexico Fair Pay for Women Act (N.M. Stat. Ann. 1978, Secs. 28-23-1 et seq.), which prohibits employers from paying employees at a rate less than the rate paid to employees of the opposite sex in the establishment for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility and that are performed under similar working conditions.
Family Friendly NM is celebrating 50 businesses that have worked toward these policy suggestions this year and are committed to pay equity in our state. For a full list of awardees or for more information about the Family Friendly Business Award® and to see if your company could qualify, visit our 2021 Awardee page.
Giovanna Rossi is a results strategist and the President/CEO of Collective Action Strategies, LLC, a consulting firm dedicated to improving the health and lives of women and families through personal, policy and leadership development. Giovanna holds a Master of Science degree in Public Policy from the London School of Economics, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Giovanna was the first ever women’s health policy advisor for the state of New Mexico and was a women’s studies adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico. She is passionate about improving the health and lives of women and families through work-life policy, economic self-sufficiency and health for women, making sure all children are supported and thriving, and addressing gender inequities in programs, policies, and services. She is the founder of Well Woman Life™, which supports women to achieve their highest level of fulfillment and well-being and founder of the Family Friendly Business Award®. Giovanna is host of The Well Woman show on NPR One, a regular panelist on New Mexico PBS In Focus, contributor on Forbes.com and a 2018 Women of Influence honoree.