When the Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy in June 1963, women were earning an average of 59 cents on the dollar compared to men. Today, 51 years later, when women comprise nearly 50% of the workforce, pay inequities still exists. White women today are paid, on average, only 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, while African American women earn only 65 cents and Latina women earn only 55 cents for each dollar earned by men.
I probably wouldn’t have a problem with this if the cost of living for women were based on these same percentages. However; they are not. When I shop at the grocery store, get billed for rocketing tuition expenses or the cost of astronomical hospital services; I am expected to pay the same rates as my white male counterpart.
What will it take to close this gap?
President Obama has made great strides in making this happen by signing off on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. However; if we truly want to see change, it will take everyday people like you and me to speak out against this unjust practice. We must begin to advocate for the causes we believe in by initiating letter writing campaigns to our state representatives and rallying our fellow advocates to make phone calls to their congresspeople.
As women of faith, we are called to be political. We are called to take a stand against injustice everywhere, especially when it relates to the rights of women and children!
To help you get started in your advocacy efforts, visit our website and check out our resources.
Deborah Calvert is associate executive director.
Photo by photologue_np. Used with permission.