It’s Equal Pay Day!

Photo credit: Emiliano Horcada, CC BY 2.0.

Today is Equal Pay Day, the day that marks how much longer a woman would have to work to earn the same amount as her male counterpart earned in the previous year.

As CNBC notes, even Equal Pay Day isn’t equal:

For black women, it would take until August 7 to reach equal pay. For Latinx women, it’s November 1.

If you see a lot of women wearing red clothing today, Time explains why:

For supporters, red symbolizes how women are “in the red with their salaries, compared to men’s,” according to Michele Leber, the chair of the National Committee on Pay Equity, which organizes Equal Pay Day each year.

Time also notes the significance of Equal Pay Day always falling on Tuesday:

Organizers from the National Committee on Pay Equity choose a Tuesday in April to mark Equal Pay Day each year “to represent how far into the next work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week,” according to the committee’s website.

We might have to start celebrating Equal Pay Day at 5 p.m. on Monday, though; Fortune reports that the wage gap has gotten smaller for the first time in a decade:

According to Census data released in September, the gender pay gap—generally defined as the difference between men’s earnings and women’s—shrank in a statistically significant way for the first time since 2007, with women earning 80.5 cents for every dollar men earned in 2016. That was up from the 79.6 cents women made in 2015. All told, women’s average earnings were $41,554 for full-time workers in 2016, compared to an average of $51,640 for men.

It’s worth clicking that Fortune link and looking at their pay gap graph: you can see a steady growth in both men and women’s paychecks from 1996 to about 2001 — an historically significant year — followed by a steady decline as we head towards the recession, then a slight uptick followed by stagnation. The pay gap may be a less than a penny smaller than it used to be, but real wages aren’t moving much.

CNBC, meanwhile, shared a chart from NerdWallet illustrating that women could have $150,000 in their investment portfolio if they spent the past ten years investing the difference between their salary and a man’s salary (averaged at $10,086 per year), although I would have been more impressed if they used actual investment returns from the past ten years instead of assuming a 6 percent return. So… I’ll do it, using historical investment return data from The Balance:

2006
Starting balance    $0
Contributions $10,086
Return 15.80%
Ending balance $11,680
 2007
Starting balance $11,680
Contributions $10,086
Return 5.50%
Ending balance $22,963
2008
Starting balance $22,963
Contributions $10,086
Return -37.00%
Ending balance $20,821
2009
Starting balance $20,821
Contributions $10,086
Return 26.50%
Ending balance $39,097
2010
Starting balance $39,097
Contributions $10,086
Return 15.10%
Ending balance $56,610
2011
Starting balance $56,610
Contributions $10,086
Return 2.10%
Ending balance $68,096
2012
Starting balance $68,096
Contributions $10,086
Return 16.00%
Ending balance $90,691
2013
Starting balance $90,691
Contributions $10,086
Return 32.40%
Ending balance $133,429
2014
Starting balance $133,429
Contributions $10,086
Return 13.70%
Ending balance $163,177
2015
Starting balance $163,177
Contributions $10,086
Return 1.40%
Ending balance $175,688
2016
Starting balance $175,688
Contributions $10,086
Return 11.90%
Ending balance $207,882

Huh, looks like these theoretical women with their theoretical $10K pay gap would have earned even more.

Happy Equal Pay Day!


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