‘Celebrating’ Equal Pay Day

Tuesday, April 2, is the day we “celebrate” when the typical woman working full time in the United States catches up to what a white man was paid the previous year. That’s right, according to national figures from 2017, making 80 cents to a man’s dollar means women must work three extra months! In 2017, median annual earnings in the U.S. for men working full time, year-round were $52,146, compared to just $41,977 for women, according to the most recent census data. The pay gap tends to be larger for women of color who have to work even longer for their salaries to catch up.

In Michigan, women face a pay gap of 78 cents, which translates into less money for feeding families, paying off student loans, and saving for retirement. Our state ranks 36th out of all states and the District of Columbia. To bring it closer to home, in our 1st Congressional District, figures from 2017 show women earning 76.7 cents to a man’s dollar. In 2017, median annual earnings in our district were $43,419 for men, compared with $33,281 for women.

The American Association of University Women has launched a multipronged initiative with the bold goal of closing the gender pay gap by 2030. Training women in salary negotiation is central to that goal. AAUW has introduced Work Smart Online, a free salary negotiation course to help women better their financial future. This easy, engaging e-tool can be accessed at https://salary.aauw.org. The course is designed to teach women about the market value of their skills and experience, how to determine an equitable target salary and how to negotiate their salary or benefits for a new job, a raise, promotion or higher-paying job.

We can make close the gender pay gap by 2030 by changing laws, improving employer practices, and empowering women to negotiate their own futures through Work Smart Online and other efforts. The members of our local Iron Mountain-Kingsford Branch of AAUW encourage you to take Work Smart online today and improve your financial future. Please also urge your family and friends to take the course and to share it with their networks as well.