It’s Equal Pay Day which we observe as the date that represents all of the extra days a typical woman working full time would have to work to make the same amount a typical man did in the previous year.
Equal Pay Day was initiated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to demonstrate the wage pay gap between men and women. According to NCPE, “Because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay. The wage gap is even greater for most women of color.” Thus, the purpose of this day is to highlight the importance of ending pay discrimination based on gender and promoting equal wages for equal amounts of work.
According to Forbes, women in the United States are paid approximately 79% of what men are paid and this gap widens for women of color. Globally, wage disparity is worse than in the U.S., with women earning only 52% of men’s earnings for the 2015 global average. “Based on the slow pace of progress towards gender economic parity, the data suggests that it could take another 118 years to close the global pay gap!” (Forbes).
Our map above shows the Global Gender Gap with the highest possible score of 1 (equality) and the lowest possible score of 0 (inequality). According to the World Economic Forum, “The Global Gender Gap Index was first introduced in 2006 as a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress. The Index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education and health criteria, and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparisons across regions and income groups. The rankings are designed to create greater awareness among a global audience of the challenges posed by gender gaps and the opportunities created by reducing them.”
The countries with the highest scores include Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Ireland, while countries with the lowest scores include Jordan, Iran, Chad, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen. Global gender equality has significantly progressed over time for some countries but has a long way to go for others. By continuing to spread awareness and working together to overcome obstacles, we can continue to progress in the right direction toward not only economic equity but also, political, educational, social and health equity for all.
Written by Kathleen Emerson (4/12/2016).