Equal Pay Action Day September 16
HOSTED BY MICHIGAN EQUAL PAY DAY COALITION
Nearly 150 members and guest attended the September 16 Equal Pay Action Day on Zoom. Guest speakers included: Lilly Ledbetter, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, MI State Attorney General Dana Nessel and many others (see full speaker panel here). Michigan Equal Pay Day Coalition members and guests wore red to symbolize that women are still “in the red” with regards to their pay.
The Michigan Equal Pay Day Coalition works to end the gender wage gap for women. Equal Pay Day was originated in Michigan by the Michigan Pay Equity Network and adopted by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men’s and women’s wages. Equal Pay Day is normally held on a Tuesday in April to symbolize how far on average into the year all women must work to earn what white men earned the previous year.
What We Do
Advocate & Lobby
If current trends continue, women in Michigan will not see equal pay until the 2084. Read 2018 IWPR Status of Women report
Women in Michigan aged 16 and older who work full-time, year-round have median earnings of $40,000, which is 80 cents on the dollar compared with men who work full-time, year-round. Gap is wider according to this 2018 report.
The difference between women’s and men’s median annual earnings, $10,000, would pay for 3.1 years of community college tuition in Michigan.
Personal Stories of the Gender Pay Gap
2 Michigan Women Shortchanged
Kerri Sleeman worked for five years at a company that designed, built, and installed laser welding assembly systems. When she was hired, Sleeman said company officials told her they didn’t negotiate pay. In 2003, the company was forced into bankruptcy and employees had to go through bankruptcy court for their final paychecks. When Sleeman looked at the court’s list of claims, she was heartbroken. People she had supervised had larger claims for two weeks of pay than she did.
Cheryl Hughes was a divorced mother of two when she began to pursue an engineering degree in 1982. She dealt with an overwhelming male majority in the field and found a balance between motherhood and being a student, but she couldn’t overcome pay inequity. Hughes said she lost more than $1 million in earnings throughout her career as an engineer because she is an African American woman.
Debra L. Ness, National Partnership for Women & Families
“The wage gap cannot be explained by women’s choices,” she added. “It’s clear that discrimination contributes to it — and equally clear that it’s causing grave harm to women, families and the country.”
“Lawmakers have not done nearly enough to end wage discrimination based on gender and race; to end sexual harassment, which impedes women’s job advancement; to stop discrimination against pregnant women; to advance paid family and medical leave and paid sick days; and to increase access to high-quality, affordable reproductive health care. If our country is to thrive, we must root out bias in wages, reject outdated stereotypes and stop penalizing women for having children and caring for their families.”
We are the Michigan Equal Pay Day Coalition working to end the gender wage gap for women.
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Michigan Equal Pay Day Coalition – Staff