Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

18 April 2008

Happy Fair Pay Day!

Blog for Fair PayToday is Friday, April 18th...the 109th day of the year. Why does that matter? Because Equal Pay or Fair Pay day marks the day when women have finally earned enough money to equal what a man made in the previous year.

In other words, if the dude in the cubicle next to you made $50,000 last year and on average you made $38,5000. That is 77 cents on the man's dollar....it would take you until today to equal his $50,000. Of course, he's still earning, so you're super behind for this year.

Of course my example is compared to a white man's dollar and that woman earning 77 cents on the dollar are white women. What about us Latinas?

Minority women fare significantly worse. In 2006, the median earnings of African American women working full-time, year-round were $30,3525 compared to $48,4206 for white, non-Hispanic men; the median for Hispanic women was only $25,198.7 This means that an African American woman earned just 63 cents for every dollar earned by a white, non-Hispanic man, while a Hispanic woman earned only 52 cents on the dollar compared to her white, non-Hispanic male counterpart.8 In both cases, this pay gap for women of color was only marginally smaller than it was in 2004. [link]
52 cents? Pinche 52 cents?

Instead of just getting all pissy about us getting the shaft there is something to be done! The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act will be voted on at any moment. Contact your Senators!! Of course you known one of mine and he better get his hopeful ass off the campaign trail to make that vote, close or not. NOW describes the bill and why we need it passed:

The Ledbetter Act was drafted to overturn the Supreme Court's May decision in the case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which dealt a near-fatal blow to underpaid workers' ability to use the protections of civil rights laws to remedy pay discrimination.

Lilly Ledbetter had worked at Goodyear for 19 years when she discovered she was being paid significantly less than every single one of her male counterparts. A jury agreed that she had been paid unfairly, and awarded her $223,776 in back pay, and over $3 million in punitive damages, but a judge cut that to only $300,000 because of a 1991 law that limited a company's liability for damages — even when found guilty of willful wage discrimination.

In an "off with her head" moment, the U.S. Supreme Court took away every penny of the back pay and damages awarded to Lilly Ledbetter, saying incredibly that the 180 day filing limit had begun way back when the very first paycheck showed lesser pay. Eighteen years of continuing wage discrimination against Ledbetter by Goodyear held no sway with the Roberts court.

Fair pay is one reason why I push young women and girls into science & engineering. Women in some of these fields are earning a fair pay, for the most part, and sometimes are in such demand that they earn MORE than the white dude next to them. Go ahead and use that the next time your daughter tries to talk you into blowing off her math homework.

Women in the construction industry, for example, earned median weekly wages that were only 86% of what their male counterparts earned. And women in computer and mathematical occupations had weekly earnings that were 85% of the wages paid their male counterparts. [link]
Technorati tags: fair pay, equal pay, feminism, work, latina, National Women's Law Center

1 comments:

Thanks for blogging today! I am glad other bloggers participated in this day!