Statement by NOW President Christian F. Nunes
WASHINGTON, D.C. – NOW is committed to commemorating Equal Pay Day and what it means for all women. While it’s a significant occasion, it also rekindles feelings of disbelief, anger, and frustration. It’s 2023 and – inexplicably and unjustifiably – it’s difficult to reckon with the fact that women are still not paid equally to men. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research even projects that gender pay equity won’t become a reality until 2059.
Although the gender pay gap has slightly narrowed for all workers with earnings, we still have a long way to go. Women are not just a single monolithic group, which is reflected in the unfortunate racial pay gap that further limits the economic freedoms of women of color. White women working full-time in the US make 82 cents for every dollar earned by white men whereas Black and Indigenous women earn just 60 cents for every dollar. The gap widens for Latina women who earn only 55 cents for every dollar made by white men. Not only are these numbers devastating, but they also haven’t changed much in the past two decades.
There are already disproportionate economic burdens thrust upon women, such as shouldering the majority of unpaid work and childcare. As they say, a woman’s work is never done, and in many cases, it’s never compensated. The pandemic’s effect on women has also been incredibly harsh in what is now being called the “she-cession.” And while both men and women experienced unemployment at similar rates, since 2020, men have regained triple the jobs that women have. In addition, 80 percent of working mothers took the lead on remote learning compared to 31 percent of working fathers, an uncomfortable reassertion of outdated and unfair traditional values.
Women everywhere deserve economic justice and without equal pay, this simply isn’t possible. There is much to gain from closing the gender and racial pay gaps. Not only would women finally be compensated what they deserve but it would decrease poverty across the country by boosting financial independence for all women. Let’s ensure that we leave the gender pay gap in the past, where it belongs.