By Randi Schmidt Director of Economic Empowerment Policy, YWCA USA
According to the NWLC, a woman earns, on average, about 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. This difference in pay adds up to $11,000 per year that women aren’t receiving. I started working at 14 years old; that pay gap means that in my 23 years in the workforce, I’ve missed out on thousands of dollars – money that could have been used for a down payment on a house, healthcare costs, student loan repayments or helping my aging parents.
This infographic from the Center for American Progress indicate what women and their families could afford annually and over a 40-year career if the gender pay gap did not exist. What could you do with an extra $10,784 per year, or an extra $431,360 over 40 years?
So why is this important to the YWCA? As a direct service organization, our goal is to help low- and moderate-income women become safe, healthy and successful. We do that by assisting them to escape domestic violence or abuse, helping them find temporary shelter or housing, providing job skills training and childcare, and helping them to be financially literate. For our clients, and for most American women, that extra $11,000 that the pay gap takes from women’s paychecks is more than just some spending money. It is food on the table or an apartment in a safe neighborhood. It’s money for transportation to doctor’s appointments and a job. It means security, and getting a step closer to achieving success.
This is why today, Equal Pay Day, we are urging you to tell your Senators and Representatives to support and work to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (S.84/H.R. 377) sponsored by Senator Mikulski (D-MD) and Representative DeLauro (D-CT), and the Fair Pay Act (S. 168/H.R. 438) sponsored by Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) and Senator Harkin (D-IA). While you’re at it, make sure you let your members of Congress know what you would do if you had an additional 23% more in your paycheck each year. You can bet that YW women would make good use of that money. What would an extra $11,000 mean to you?
This blog is a part of the NWLC’s Blog for Equal Pay Day 2013. Read all of the posts on Womenstake, NWLC’s Blog.
Randi Schmidt is the Director of Economic Empowerment Policy for YWCA USA. She has worked at the organization for nine years.