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Today is not just Tax Day. It is also Equal Pay Day - the day that symbolizes how far into 2012 women must work to earn what men already earned in 2011.

That’s right. Women have to work for 16.5 months to earn what men make in 12 months. Even though it is 2012 and even though the Equal Pay Act was passed almost 50 years ago, the sad reality is that across industries, women are still not getting equal pay for equal work.

Yes, it's 2012, but Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman offered this justification for his bill repealing the state’s fair pay law:

You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious."

WHAT??? State Sen. Glenn Grothman seems to think that money just isn’t that important to women and mothers! And sadly he isn't alone in this dated, inaccurate thinking since the fair pay legislation in WI was actually repealed.

Did I wake up in the 50s? No. I did not. It’s 2012 and State Sen. Grothman said this in a time when women, for the first time in history, now comprise half of the entire paid labor force, yet still make only 77 cents to every dollar earned by men.  That lost money is more critical than ever since more and more women are now the primary or co-breadwinners for their families.  Money, most certainly is not "more important for men" as he says.

Further, moms experience some of the most extreme wage hits.  For example, a recent study found that with equal resumes and job experiences, mothers were offered $11,000 lower starting salaries than non-mothers (fathers, on the other hand, were offered $6,000 more in starting salaries than non-fathers).  Another study found that women without children make 90 cents to a man's dollar, mothers make 73 cents to a man's dollar, and single moms make only about 60 cents to a man's dollar.

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 mothers and families are struggling right now--and need equal pay for equal work to help keep their families afloat--is an understatement.  In fact, in 2010 it cost $226,920 on average for a middle-income, two-parent family to raise one child from birth to age 18. That's not including college. Three-quarters of moms are in the labor force, and even so, a quarter of young families are living in poverty.

It's time to make our voices heard: Women still need equal pay for equal work! So today, on Equal Pay Day, MomsRising is hosting this blog carnival with our partners at the National Women's Law Center, sharing personal stories and policy analysis from diverse contributors about why families can't wait any longer for fair pay. (Scroll down this blog to see a linked listing of all the terrific blogs on this topic).

National Women's Law Center advocates in action!
Working together for fair pay with ROCUnited

Notably, in the restaurant industry in particular, the wage gap and wage cuts are so big you could see it from outer space: Full time, year round, female servers are paid 68 percent of what their male counterparts are paid and black female servers are paid only 60 percent of what male servers overall are paid, costing them a deficit of more than $400,000 over a lifetime.

That's unacceptable! With our partners at the Restaurant Opportunities Center, we're speaking up to demand that Congress take action and pass the Working for Adequate Gains for Employment in Services (WAGES) Act and raise the

federal tipped minimum wage. We’ll be walking the halls of Congress, delivering MomsRising member stories about the need for fair pay in the restaurant industry and beyond.

Women now comprise half of the entire paid labor force, three-quarters of moms are in the labor force, and are essential contributors to the economy both as workers and consumers.

It's time to bring our policies into modern times along with our labor force. Read on for stories and analysis that will help make fair pay a reality for families!

***

Equal Pay is About Economic Security for Middle Class Families, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

The True Value of Work: A Blog Carnival Honoring Latinas and Equal Pay Day, Janet Murguia, National Council of La Raza

Securing Equal Pay, Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House

Women's Work: A Political Flashpoint and an Urgent Policy Imperative, Debra L. Ness, National Partnership for Women and Families

It's Not a "Mommy War," It's a War on Moms, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, CEO/Executive Director, MomsRising.org

The Unfortunate Irony in Equal Pay Day, Mary Kay Henry, SEIU

Wage Theft, Sexual Harassment and Workplace Violence: The Troubling Reality of Many Latina and Immigrant Workers, Hector E. Sanchez, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA)

Let's Get Women Out of the Red, Gerald McEntee, AFSCME

Low Income Women and Their Families Can't afford a Gender Wage Gap, Nicky Goren, Washington Area Women's Foundation

A Lesson From the U.S. Military, Kimberly Olson, Colonel, US Air Force (retired)

On Equal Pay Day, Step Up or Step Out of the Way, Deborah L. Frett, Business and Professional Women's Foundation

More than a Date: The Connection Between Tax Day and Equal Pay Day, Kristin Maschka

This is the Year to Close the Wage Gap, Liz O'Donnell, Hello Ladies

Debunking Myths About Motherhood and Equal Pay, Elizabeth Gedmark, A Better Balance

Equal Pay for Equal Work: Much More Than a Nuisance, National Association of Social Workers

Demanding Equal Pay for Equal Work, Laurie Young, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Happy Equal Pay Day!, Carol Joyner, Labor Project for Working Families

This Equal Pay Day, Look to the States, Emily Wilson, Wider Opportunities for Women

What Year is This Anyway?, Claire Moshenberg, MomsRising.org

A Small Doc for Equal Pay; A Giant Leap for One Woman, Kate Bryant

Football Guide to Fair Pay, Janet Hill, Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)

On Equal Pay Day, Let's Demand Change From Wal-Mart, Jenya Cassidy, Labor Project for Working Families

Unequal Pay and Women's Economic Security, Mary Murphy, Wider Opportunities for Women

An anti-family conservative agenda, Ellen Bravo, Family Values at Work

A Good Job For Every Woman, Kelli Owens, YWCA

Happy Equal Pay Day! We're All Caught Up, Colleen Crinion, Get Off My Soapbox

Unequal Pay Day for Black and Latina Women, Julie Ajinkya, Center for American Progress

Facing the Wage Gap as a Recent College Grad, Vanessa Harbin, Institute for Women's Policy Research

California Women Earn 84 Cents for Every Man's Dollar: Latinas Make 57 Cents, Dennis Romero, LA Weekly

10 Facts about Latino Women and Pay Inequity, Vanessa Cárdenas, Center for American Progress

Video and Infographics

Video of MomsRising bloggers Ellen Bravo (Family Values at Work) and Joanne Bamberger (PunditMom) on MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry's show

Check out the infographics at the Facebook Page of the National Partnership for Women and Families

Fact Sheets

New Study: Men Earn More Than Women Within Nearly All the Most Common Occupations, Caroline Dobuzinskis, Institute for Women's Policy Research

National Partnership for Women and Families resources:

Tipped Minimum Wage Stories

I worked in a restaurant as a server earning $2.65 and could not afford to eat, Brandi Trapp

California Restaurant Owner Speaks Out in Favor of Raising the Tipped Minimum Wage, Nicolas Sanchez, owner of Platano Restaurant


The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of MomsRising.org

MomsRising.org strongly encourages our readers to post comments in response to blog posts. We value diversity of opinions and perspectives. Our goals for this space are to be educational, thought-provoking, and respectful. So we actively moderate comments and we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that undermine these goals. Thanks!