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The Pay Gap is a Man's Issue, Too

Thu, June 10, 2010
The Pay Gap is a Man's Issue, Too

On this day in 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law, giving women the promise of equal pay for equal work.  And yet today, 47 years later, woman still get paid only 77 cents on average for every dollar a man makes; women of color still face an even wider pay gap; and we're still fighting for pay equity.

The wage gap is obviously a problem for women, but what's not often talked about is that it's also a problem for men.  Women now comprise 50 percent of the paid workforce for the first time in history, and two-thirds of mothers are either the primary or co-breadwinners for their families.  The wages women earn have never been more important to individual families or the overall American economy.

The wage gap may hit women directly, but it clearly affects men as well.  Over the course of a year, the gender pay gap results in the average woman earning $10,622 less than she should be taking home.  How important is that money to the husband who was laid off and is still depending on his wife to get the family through his period of unemployment?  How significant is that money to the son who starts college in the fall and is counting on his mother to help him shoulder the enormous cost of tuition?  How different would the economy look if women were actually receiving that money every year?  Did you know that men of color face a pay gap, too, when compared to white men?

That's why, as we mark the anniversary of the Equal Pay Act and anticipate Father's Day just around the corner, we're asking you to get the men in your life involved in our efforts to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act as well.  Forward this alert to all the men you know and ask them to urge their senators to quickly move and pass this critical legislation.  Then, consider giving Dad the gift of AAUW membership for Father's Day.  After all, it literally pays dividends.

Women need the updated protections and tools the Paycheck Fairness Act can provide, and so do men.  The bill passed the House well over a year ago with strong bipartisan support, and new polling data just released by the Paycheck Fairness Act Coalition, of which AAUW is a key leader, shows that 84 percent of voters support a new law like the Paycheck Fairness Act.  But the Senate has been sitting on it for far too long.

Take Action!
In honor of the Equal Pay Act anniversary today, urge your senators to move the Paycheck Fairness Act by clicking on the "Take Action!" link in the upper right corner or copying and pasting the following URL into your internet browser.  Then, with Father's Day approaching, forward this article to a friend to urge all the men in your life to take action as well.
Learn more about the Paycheck Fairness Act, and see what the wage gap is in your state.  Add an Equal Pay websticker to your site or blog and a Twibbon to your avatar, and share your thoughts about how pay equity affects men on AAUW Dialog, Facebook, and Twitter.  You can also visit AAUW's Pay Equity webpage and download the Pay Equity Resource Kit and Pay Equity Program in a Box for ideas, tips, and resources to use in your community throughout the year.

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