March 24th is Equal Pay Day, the date when women’s average pay finally catches up to what their male counterparts earned in 2020. In the midst of a tremendous economic and health crisis, working women are depending on their paychecks more than ever to provide for themselves and their families—yet, as a whole, they are still making an average of 82 cents for every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man earns. This gap is even more pronounced for Black, Native, and Latina women, who only make 63 cents, 60 cents, and 55 cents for every dollar a white man makes, respectively. On top of this, women of color, who are also more likely to be the breadwinners of their families, are overrepresented in essential frontline jobs with low wages and fewer supportive policies in place, putting their health and job security at greater risk.
Women should never be forced to choose between keeping their jobs and starting or tending to their families, especially at a time when many are depending on consistent, fair income to keep food on the table and roofs over their heads.
This Equal Pay Day, we continue to call for definitive solutions that put a stop to unequal pay at its roots by breaking down structural barriers of racism and sexism in the workplace and ensuring there are protections in place for workers with caregiving obligations. As working mothers and caregivers continue to bear the brunt of this pandemic, our lawmakers must prioritize enacting supportive policies such as comprehensive paid family and medical leave for all workers, and stronger protections for pregnant workers and breastfeeding workers through the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and the PUMP for Nursing Mothers Act. Working families across America are counting on Congress to take action and help close the wage gap for women.