This year, Equal Pay Day will be observed on March 24, 2021. This day marks how far into the year the average woman must work to earn what the average man earned in the previous year. Simply put, women still only earn $0.82 on average per every $1.00 that their male counterparts earn for the same work. While this year’s celebration marks a seven-day improvement over the last year, during which Equal Pay Day was observed on March 31, 2020, there is still quite a ways to go before Equal Pay Day for all women is celebrated when it should be: December 31 of each year.
It seems rather ironic that Equal Pay Day is observed during the month of March, which has been observed as Women’s History Month since Congress designated it as such with the passing of Public Law 100-9 in 1987. The joint resolution requested that former President Ronald Reagan issued a proclamation on the matter. Four days later, he issued Proclamation 5619, which notes:
Women have established themselves in business and the professions, and today women outnumber men as undergraduates at our colleges and universities. Women have fought for moral and social reform and have taken part in and led many great social and political movements of our land. Women have founded many of our philanthropic, cultural, educational, and charitable institutions. Women have served our Nation with valor and distinction during wartime, nursing the wounded, piloting airplanes, performing vital jobs in defense plants. Women have forged a place for themselves in public life, serving on the Supreme Court, in the Congress, and in Cabinet posts; becoming Ambassadors; and holding Federal Executive posts that affect the lives of every citizen.[JS1]
Although we will celebrate this day on March 24, 2021, it is important to note that the $0.82 figure only represents average women in the U.S. The gender pay gap only increases when broken down by demographic.
The following figures show how much women are paid by demographic for the year 2021 (per their male counterparts’ $1.00):
- Moms in the U.S.: $0.70
- Black American women: $0.63
- Native American women: $0.60
- Latina Women: $0.55