The Los Alamos branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will observe Equal Pay Day with a gathering 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, April 12 at UnQuarked Wine Bar in Central Park Square.
Equal Pay Day is the symbolic day when women’s earnings “catch up” to men’s earnings from the previous year. Los Alamos Branch STEM Liaison to AAUW New Mexico and AAUW New Mexico Co-President, Helena Whyte, will give a short talk to raise awareness about and organize action around the gender pay gap. The public is welcome at this event and refreshments will be served.
The gender pay gap is a primary issue for AAUW, and one that we have been working on for years. As early as 1922, AAUW’s legislative program called for a reclassification of the U.S. Civil Service and repeal of salary restrictions in the Women’s Bureau.
In 1955, AAUW supported a bill introduced by Reps. Edith Green (D-OR) and Edith Rogers (R-MA) requiring “equal pay for work of comparable value requiring comparable skills.” Congress finally enacted the Equal Pay Act, a version of the 1955 bill, in 1963.
Despite the Equal Pay Act, the wage gap persists; women are typically paid just 79 cents on average for every dollar paid to men — and that number has barely budged in a decade. Although enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and other civil rights laws has helped to narrow the wage gap, significant disparities still must be addressed.
To improve the scope of the Equal Pay Act, AAUW advocates passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. This would give employers stronger incentives to follow the law, enhance federal enforcement efforts, and prohibit retaliation against workers asking about wage practices.
AAUW promotes Equal Pay Day to draw attention to the gender pay gap and build support for the Paycheck Fairness Act.