Every spring, the United States marks Equal Pay Day, the date that marks the number of extra months into the new year that women must work in order to earn what men brought in the previous year. Amid the global coronavirus and economic crisis, it could be easy for 2020’s marker of the gender pay gap to fall by the wayside. But, experts argue, that would be a mistake.

“The pay gap is less money women have in their pockets for basic necessities and less in savings to ride out a crisis like this,” says Nicole Mason, president and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

This year’s Equal Pay Day is March 31, meaning that women as an aggregate group earned 81.6 cents on men’s dollar, working all of 2019 and until this point in 2020 to earn what men did last year. The date averages all pay gap data and does not account for significant differences in the racial wage gap.

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