June 10, 2013, marks 50 years since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act. According to research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), pay parity is not expected to be achieved until 2057, 45 years from now, if the rate of progress since 1960 continues.
Women in the United States still face an average wage ratio of 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. According to research from IWPR, the wage gap persists both across and within the most common occupations.
In the public sector, where pay information is publicly available, a smaller pay gap exists compared to the private sector. According to an IWPR/Rockefeller survey, three-fifths of private sector workers report that the discussion of wage and salary information is either discouraged or prohibited and/or could lead to punishment. The Equal Pay Act does not protect workers against retaliation for sharing salary information with coworkers.
Statement from Dr. Heidi Hartmann, IWPR President
“When the Equal Pay Act was signed into law 50 years ago, blatant employment discrimination and unequal pay for women working the same jobs as men was widely accepted. As we honor this date and 25 years of research from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, women still face a sizeable wage gap. The gap costs women hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetimes and reduces their retirement incomes.
As more women become the primary or co-breadwinners in households, their families suffer from the female wage penalty. By eliminating pay secrecy and preventing employers from retaliation against workers who share pay information, we can shine a light on gender discrimination in the workforce. This is the time to advance pay equality in order to benefit women, their families, and today’s economy.”
The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.
For 25 years, IWPR has informed policy in the United States and internationally by putting relevant, high quality facts in the hands of thousands of local leaders and advocates, increasing their ability to shape and implement legislation that benefits women and their families.