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Today - Tuesday, April 12 - is Equal Pay Day.  The day that symbolizes how far into 2011 women have had to work to earn what men earned in 2010 - for the same work.  That’s right. We’re four months into 2011 and women have *just* caught up to earning what men earned in 2010 for the same work.

Outrageous, isn’t it? We agree! That’s why we recently asked MomsRising members to share how a lack of equal pay for equal work has impacted them and their families. Here's some of what we heard:

  • One member wrote to share that even though she has an identical advanced degree as her husband, and landed the exact same job as her husband, but at different locations, her husband was offered over $5,000 more in starting salary for the same job, with the equivalent resume.
  • We've also heard from MomsRising members who were fired after having children--and then had a less qualified male replacement be hired for 30% more of their salary; as well as from members who retired from executive level positions only to find that less qualified male candidates were hired at higher salary rates than their outgoing rate.
  • In addition, we've heard from single moms and moms who are the primary breadwinners in their families shared how they had been told by managers, in no uncertain terms, that even though these moms were more qualified than their male peers, men had to be paid more because they had families to support.

We partnered with the National Women's Law Center to bring stories like these in this blog-a-thon- bring to life the statistics that show wage and hiring discrimination against women and mothers is still rampant in our nation.

For those of you who want to check out the blog-a-thon, scroll on down now!

And for all you data-lovers, here are some of those stats: Data  released last year by the U.S. Census found that women who worked full-time, year round on average still made 23 cents less for every dollar earned by their male counterparts.  And, the wage gap for women of color in 2009 was even more staggering than for women overall. When Black and Hispanic women work full-time, year round, they only make 62 and 53 cents, respectively, for every dollar their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts earn. [1] Further, a recent study found that with equal resumes and job experiences, mothers were offered $11,000 lower starting salaries than non-moms. (Fathers, on the other hand, were offered $6,000 more in starting salaries than non-fathers). [2] There is real discrimination against moms going on here.

Since over 80% of women in our nation have children by the time they're 44 years old, this means the majority of women in our nation are touched by this type of wage discrimination at some point in their lives.

To say that families are struggling right now is an understatement. In 40 states, the average annual cost for center-based child care is higher than a year’s tuition and related fees at a four-year public college. [3] Nationwide, climbing gas prices have now reached over $3.50 per gallon.  [4] Many jobs that are available during this painfully slow economic recovery don't pay enough to cover the costs of basics like food and health care.  [5] The majority of families now need two paychecks to make ends meet, which means that pay discrimination against women is further compounding families’ suffering during this economic downturn.

We have work to do. Even though President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, the pay gap has been narrowing by less than half a percent a year. If the wage gap continues to narrow at the same rate as it has done since 1960, it will take another 45 years, or until 2056, for women and men to reach pay equity.  [6]

One MomsRising volunteer is taking her two-year-old daughter to Washington, D.C. today to deliver your stories and messages. If things don’t change, that two-year-old will be in her 40s before pay equity will be a reality.  So please join us in sending a message to Congress that families need equal pay for equal work! Click here: http://action.momsrising.org/letter/equal_pay_day_2011/

Then get yourself a cup of tea and check out the excellent blog-a-thon for fair pay below, as well as at the National Women's Law Center blog. You'll find personal stories and thoughtful analysis on where we are right now in the fight for fair pay-- and how we can move forward for better family economic security.

Together we’re a more powerful force for women and families!

[1] United States Census: Income, Poverty and Health Insurance in the United States: 2009 and National Women’s Law Center blog post, “State Wage Gap Data Show Little or No Improvement from 2008,” September 28 2010

[2] Franklin Crawford, “Motherhood and the math factor: Sociologist Shelley Correll exposes biases that affect women in business and academia,” Cornell University, Chronicle Online, Feb 6, 2007

[3] "Parents and The High Cost of Child Care: 2010 Update," National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies.http://www.naccrra.org/publications/naccrra-publications/parents-and-the-high-cost-of-child-care.php

[4] AAA Fuel Gauge Report http://fuelgaugereport.aaa.com/?redirectto=http://fuelgaugereport.opisnet.com/index.asp

[5] "Many Low-Wage Jobs Seen as Failing to Meet Basic Needs," The New York Times, March 31st, 2011. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/01/business/economy/01jobs.html

[6] IWPR Report: “Women’s Median Earnings as a Percent of Men’s Median Earnings, 1960-2009 (Full-Time, Year-Round Workers) with Projection for Pay Equity in 2056,” Jeff Hayes, Ph.D. (March 2011)

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Let the blog-a-thon begin!

  • Thoughts shared from leaders in government

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on Equal Pay Day

Paycheck Fairness: Progress for America's Women and Economic Security for the Middle Class, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Let's Make Equal Pay for Equal Work a Reality, Senator Tom Harkin

Women Deserve Equal Pay for Equal Work; Let's Pass Fair Pay Legislation, Senator Frank Lautenberg

Fighting for Jobs in an Economy that Works for Everyone, Senator Barbara Mikulski

I'm reintroducing the Paycheck Fairness Act today, Representative Rosa DeLauro

Where's My 20?, Sara Manzano-Diaz, Director of the US Department of Labor's Women's Bureau

  • Reflections and personal stories

Forgotten Underclass: Part-Time Workers, Ann Crittenden and Dina Bakst

Personal Reflections on Wage Inequality, Angela Sasseville, MA, LPC, NCC

The Great Labor Sale: Moms 25% off!, Katrina Alcorn

Fair Pay: It Starts at the Interview! A recent college grad's experience, Nelsy Batista

My 2 cents on 75 cents still doesn't equal one dollar, Christine Siracusa

A Woman's Work on Pay Equity is Never Done, Kristin Maschka

Feeling Poor? Protest!, Joanne Cleaver

A Note the Supreme Court on What Sexism Looks Like Today, Elisa Batista

Wearing and Seeing Red over Equal Pay, Erin Fuller

Fair Pay, Jennie Johnston

Once and For All- Stop Discounting Women!, Marcia Greenberger, NWLC

  • Policy analysis and stories

Paycheck Fairness Now!, Linda Meric, 9to5

Visualizing the Gender Wage Gap, Jennifer Clark, IWPR

Sadly, Equal Pay is Still an Issue, Mary Gatta, National Elder Economic Security Initiative

Ceteris Paribus: Equal Pay day 2011, Cara Tuttle Bell

FAQs on Equal Pay Day, Deborah Swerdlow, RAC

A Crisis Averted?, Deborah Vagins, ACLU

National Committee on Pay Equity (the whole front page is full of useful links today)

Equal Pay Is Not Just a Women's Issue, Renata Maniaci, NOW

Stop WalMart from Discriminating Against Women, Linda Meric and Mary Henderson

On Equal Pay Day, Busting 4 Top Myths About the Wage Gap, Ms. Magazine blog

PFAW Urges You To Contact Congress for Equal Pay, Jen Herrick

What Would You Do With an Extra Three Months' Pay?, Women's Campaign Forum

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