Letter to editor: Observe Equal Pay Day

On Tuesday, April 12,  from all walks of life and occupations, people across this country will recognize Equal Pay Day – the date to which women must work to earn the same amount earned by men for the 12 months ending Dec. 31, 2015.  We will call attention to the pay gap between the $0.79 that women earn with the $1 that men earn for the same work. These differences in pay do not equal out even when adjusted for differences in hours worked per week, gaps in employment, and fields of employment.  The wage gap is not a result of different life choices.  It is a result of biases in the workplace that cause women to be compensated less for doing the same work.  This is most glaringly noted in the wage gap of starting salaries for college graduates – your daughter’s starting salary out of college is likely to be 18 percent less than your son’s.

On April 12 we will broadcast the facts that Pennsylvania ranks 26th among the states in equal pay and that in 12 of Pennsylvania’s Congressional Districts, women, comparatively, earn less than 79 cents! The short and long term harm to women and their families is significant.

“Why does it matter so much?” you ask.

-  It matters because 46.8 percent of all workers are women; 71 percent of mothers work for pay; 41 percent of mothers are sole or primary breadwinners; and 32 percent of working mothers are single mothers.

-   It matters because if women had equal pay the U.S. economy would produce an additional $447.6 billion in income.

The West Chester-Chester County Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), an organization that works to break down barriers to equity for women and girls, supports the goals of Equal Pay Day. We know that achieving equal pay for women would not address all the wage inequities, but it would be a big step! We encourage your audience to read "The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap" (spring 2016), which is found on the national AAUW website, www.aauw.org. The report is free. We write to urge men and women to join in this fight. Make it personal: write or call your legislator.  Make your voice heard on a blog, a tweet, Facebook. Help make this the last Equal Pay Day required in Pa.!

Sue Johnston, president 

Legislative and Public Policy CommitteeaauwWCCC@gmail.com

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