The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Chief Executive Officer Kimberly Churches issued the following statement in response to newly released U.S. Census Bureau figures showing that the gender pay gap remains unchanged.
“Pay equity has dominated headlines this year, but change has yet to reach our pocketbooks and bank accounts. Today’s news is that women still make 82 cents* on the dollar compared to men. And the numbers are dramatically worse for Black women (62 cents) and Latinas (54 cents) compared to white men.
“But there’s nothing really new about that: These statistics have been stuck around the same levels for almost two decades. Based on historic rates, the gap won’t close for 75 years—until 2093. And that’s just too long. It’s time we all stand up and demand basic fairness.
“What is news is the fact that momentum is building toward closing the gap—and that can and will accelerate change if we keep pushing it forward:
• 2019 was a monumental year for pay equity laws with a record 11 states’ laws from across the political spectrum—enacting new legislation. On a federal level, the Paycheck Fairness Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and remains under consideration in the U.S. Senate.
• Employers around the country are changing policies—ranging from removing salary history questions from the hiring process to regularly auditing existing pay levels—to stop practices that perpetuate the pay gap. They are finding that such actions are essential for attracting and retaining employees and customers—and that their businesses benefit as a result.
• Employers with 100 or more employees are required for the first time to report pay data based on sex, race and ethnicty to the Equal Opportunity Commission by September 30. This data collection is an important step in order for the EEOC to identify trends in pay disparities and for employers to examine and remedy any problems they encounter.
• And individuals are taking action—from learning to advocate for their financial futures through AAUW’s Work Smart salary negotiation tool to advocating for change in their workplaces.
“Beyond pay equity, professions dominated by women pay less, and girls and women are more likely to be steered into lower-paying fields throughout their educations and careers. We need to take a deep, hard look at addressing economic equity. This isn’t a women’s issue. This is a family issue.
“We need to examine why women make up more than 60 percent of minimum wage workers, but fewer than 6 percent of corporate CEOs. We need to build pathways for girls and women into STEM and other higher-paying careers. We need to finally support family and medical leave, accessible affordable quality childcare, flexibility in workplaces, ending sexual harassment and other factors that contribute to the imbalance.
“We can’t be willing to wait 75 years for pay equity—we need to push for the changes to reach it now.” n
* Note: The U.S. Census Bureau adjusted its pay data methodology for this year (2018 data) changing the reported gap, but this does not reflect a real change in America. The gap is not statistically different from last year.
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy. Their nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and more than 800 college and university members. Learn more at aauw.org.