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National Organization for Women

APRIL 25, 2006
10:06 AM

CONTACT: National Organization for Women
Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

On Equal Pay Day, NOW Wants Women to "Get Even"

WASHINGTON - APRIL 25 - Today, April 25, is Equal Pay Day -- the day when women's average earnings finally catch up with the amount men earned on average in the previous calendar year alone. At our founding in 1966, the National Organization for Women identified the wage gap and its negative impact on women. Forty years later, the gap remains wide and progress has slowed to a crawl. Now, women working full-time, year-round, are paid only about three-quarters as much as men, and African-American women and Latinas receive even less.

Women are still not receiving equal pay for equal work, let alone equal pay for work of equal value. According to data from the Department of Labor, women are paid less than men in every occupation for which sufficient information is available -- more than 300 job classifications. This disparity not only affects women's day-to-day spending power; it also affects their retirement by penalizing them through gaps in social security and pensions. In spite of the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, the pay gap remains, having closed by an average of less than half a penny per year since the act was passed.

That is why NOW proudly joins with the WAGE (Women Are Getting Even) Project and other women's rights allies in launching WAGE Clubs -- an exciting new nationwide grassroots movement forged to help grow women's wages. WAGE clubs will provide women with a forum where they can discuss wage discrimination and strategize about how to right this wrong.

If women were paid as much as men who work the same number of hours, have the same education and union status, are the same age, and live in the same region of the country, then women's annual income would rise by $4,000 and poverty rates would be cut in half. Working families would gain an astounding $200 billion in family income annually.

"It is shameful that, in the United States of America, women are paid so much less than men - and that that there is so little political will to deal with the disparity," said NOW President Kim Gandy. "These inequities are injuring women and our families. Both employers and politicians are way past due in demonstrating that they value women's contributions as much as they value men's."

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