Hey Girls! It’s Women’s Equality Day!

Hey Girls! It's Women's Equality Day!

On Women’s Equality Day, we can see how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.

In 1971, Representative Bella Abzug designated August 26th as Women’s Equality Day. And although we’ve come a long way since 1971, there’s still work to be done to achieve gender equality in the United States.  And even though last month at the Democratic National Convention, for the first time in our nation’s history, a woman was nominated to be the Presidential candidate for a major American party, there’s still much more work to be done.

Women’s Equality Day is fittingly celebrated today since the 19th Amendment passed on August 26th, 1920. That passage is a great reminder of the power of thoughtful women and men joining together for greater equality. Women were only granted the right to vote after more than 70 years of peaceful civil rights activity!

Did you know that in 2014, women working full time in the United States typically were paid just 79 percent of what men were paid, a gap of 21 percent? The gap has narrowed since the 1970s , due largely to women’s progress in education and workforce participation and to men’s wages rising at a slower rate. But progress has stalled in recent years, and the pay gap does not appear likely to go away on its own.

Not only is there a national pay gap statistic, the pay gap can also be calculated for each state. According to data from the American Community Survey, in 2014 the pay gap was smallest in Washington, D.C., where women were paid 90 percent of what men were paid, and largest in Louisiana, where women were paid 65 percent of what men were paid.

Finally, and perhaps not surprisingly, but a bigger challenge is felt by women of color.  The pay gap affects women from all backgrounds, at all ages, and of all levels of educational achievement, although earnings and the gap vary depending on a woman’s individual situation.
Among full-time workers in 2014, Hispanic, African American, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian women had lower median annual earnings compared with non-Hispanic white and Asian American women. But within racial/ethnic groups, African American, Hispanic, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian women experienced a smaller gender pay gap compared with men in the same group than did non-Hispanic white and Asian American women.

Hopefully in 2016, we don’t take voting for granted, and we are aware that there are still issues facing a nation that claims freedom and opportunity for all. The wage gap has taken center stage in recent years, and for good reason! During Women’s Equality Day today, we could all benefit from doing a little research to ensure that the men and women with whom we work are being fairly compensated.

The Maria Sanchez Show will be celebrating Women’s Equality Day with you and talking about equality on our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown. Join us on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PDT/7:00 p.m. EDT.

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