Since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963, it has been illegal in the United States to pay men and women working in the same place different salaries for similar work. In a day in which equality should exist in all realms of society, we’re not quite there.
“Women work until April 4 of this year to earn what a man earned last year,” Anita Thompson, president of the Business and Professional Womens Club said Tuesday. “They (women) worked all last year and until April 4 this year to earn the same amount.”
Thompson asked a rhetorical question.
“Is that fair?” Thompson asked. “That’s why we’re here.”
That means what a man earned in 2016, it took women all of 2016 and until April 4 of 2017 to earn. The women were set up in the lobby of the Scioto County Courthouse on Tuesday – Equal Pay Day – with packages containing a Payday bar, a packet of Equal and a brief description of the issue. They handed packages out to anyone who came through.
“Last year it was April 12. This year it’s April 4. Next year maybe it will be March,” Thompson said.
One of the people lending their support to the BPW women was Scioto County Commissioner Cathy Coleman.
“Just think of in the past how few women have been involved in the government, and now, today, there are so many women in government, and we’re all here to support these women,” Coleman said. “Someone has to support them and we are here to do our part.”
Doing his part alongside Coleman was Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree.
According to the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), American women who work full time, year round are paid only 75 cents for every dollar paid to men — and for women of color, the wage gap is even larger. The women of BPW believe it’s long past time to close the gap.
The wage gap is a harsh reality for women, regardless of education and work experience — and it only gets worse as women’s careers progress. The wage gap typically translates into more than $10,000 per year in lost earnings for women.
In addition to Thompson, Shelby Powell and Karen Evans, took the time to explain the problem to visitors to the courthouse. They handed out the packets and hoped for a day in which one year for the woman in terms of pay, will be the same as one year for the man.
On Tuesday, Equal Pay Day, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) reintroduced legislation that would put an end to pay discrimination based on gender. The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes that allow women to continue to be paid less than men. Ohio women are paid only 75 percent of what their male counterparts earn. Nationwide, women earn 80 percent of what men make.
“We cannot allow Ohio women to be cheated out of wages they’ve earned,” Brown said. “It hurts working families and our economy when women earn less than men for the same job.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.