BUSINESS

This Is Why We're Still Talking About Equal Pay

04/08/2014 05:21 pm ET | Updated Apr 08, 2014
by D.Jiang via Getty Images

This year's Equal Pay Day falls on April 8. The date symbolizes how far into 2014 a woman has to work to earn the same money as her male counterpart did in 2013.

The National Committee on Pay Equity launched the symbolic day in 1996 to bring awareness to the perpetual gender wage gap. Since then, the gap has improved at a rate of less than half a cent per year, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Women, on average, make 77 percent of what men make, and women of color make even less. Sadly, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, the gap isn’t going anywhere for a while.

The gap remains to be a hot-button issue -- even in 2014. Naysayers on one side say the numbers are misleading.

“The data is clear that for the same work men and women are paid roughly the same. The media need to look beyond the claims of feminist organizations,” career expert Marty Nemko previously told BNET.

Critics say career path choices, maternity leave and education are reasons for the gap, the outlet notes.

But others are unabashedly stomping on that belief and trying to do something about the numbers.

“The wage gap is simply unacceptable. We must do much more to end discrimination so we no longer deny millions of women the fair pay they need and deserve,” Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families said in a statement. “We know from Census data and the experiences of women across the country that the wage gap exists regardless of industry, education level or perceived personal choices. America’s women and their families urgently need Congress to take action to promote equal pay. It is past time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.”

Here are some numbers compiled from the Census Bureau, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the American Association of University Women:

Age: The first year out of college, women earn 82 percent less than their male equivalents, the AAUW found. Among workers ages 55–64, women were paid only 76 percent of what their male counterparts made.

Education: In 2011, women's median weekly earnings were at least 21 percent less than men's median weekly earnings at every academic achievement level (high school graduate and beyond).

Race: Asian-American women make 87 percent of what white men make. Hispanic and Latina women were only paid 53 percent of what white men earned in 2012.

Field of Work: In women-dominated fields like education, nursing and social work, women on average earn less than men across the board.

Overall: Women earn less than men in almost all of the 112 occupations for which weekly data is compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "In at least 101 of the 112 occupations, women made significantly less than men, and in 17 of these they made at least 25 cents less per dollar," a press release notes.

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