Equal Pay for Equal Work Is Priority

Dear St. John Tradewinds Newspaper:

Tuesday, April 25 is Equal Pay Day. To match men’s earnings for 2005, women have to work from January 2005 to April 2006—an extra four months.

Equal Pay Day takes place each year on a Tuesday in April, symbolizing the point in the next week and year to which a woman must work to achieve pay equity. Her male counterpart must work five days a week for twelve months, whereas she will work seven days a week for sixteen months to earn equivalent wages.

While educational gains for women are often credited with helping to shrink the gender gap in earnings, research conducted by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation reveals that women with four-year degrees typically earn 71.5 cents for every $1 that their male counterparts earn, or $44,200 compared $61,800 for men—a gap of $17,600 a year!

A lifetime of lower wages means women have less income they can save for retirement, and less income that counts in a Social Security or pension benefit formula.

Because women live longer than men, they will have to stretch their retirement savings—which are less to begin with—over a longer period of time.

The members of our state’s Congressional delegation should support legislation to close the gender wage gap, such as the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 74/H.R. 2397) and Fair Pay Act (S. 841/H.R. 1697).

Among issues identified as priorities for women, 90 percent say that equal pay for equal work is a priority. I hope our elected officials remember this as we approach the fall elections.

Thelma V. Walters, St. Thomas