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Equal Pay Day reminds Wisconsin workers of wage gap

Women and minorities recognized Equal Pay Day in Milwaukee on Tuesday by holding a demonstration at the Equal Rights Division, according to a local news report. The group used the occasion to call for the strengthening of existing anti-discrimination employment laws, and State Rep. Chris Sinicki and Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson spoke at the event.

Some Wisconsin residents may not be aware that Equal Pay Day is recognized annually nationwide. It is meant to call attention to the wage gap that exists between men and women who perform the same work. The date of Equal Pay Day moves around a bit each year, as it is meant to signify the day by which the average woman would have matched the average man's previous year's earnings. So, by April 9, 2013, women should have been able to catch up with what men earned in 2012. This is because women reportedly earn about 77 cents for each dollar that men earn.

Equal Pay Day was of extra significance this year because 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963 to end wage discrepancies among employees who performed work that required equal skill and effort, in similar working conditions. Since the law was passed, U.S. employers have come a long way in offering equal wages to men and women, however there is still much work to be done. A significant gap in pay still exists and it is even larger for Latina women and African American women, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which fielded more than 4,000 complaints of gender-based wage discrimination in 2012.

So, there is still work to be done. As President Barack Obama stated in his Proclamation for National Equal Pay Day: "...our journey will not be complete until our mothers, our wives, our sisters, and our daughters are treated equally in the workplace and always see an honest day's work rewarded with honest wages."

Source: Fox6Now.com, "Women, minorities speak out against pay gap," April 8, 2013

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "EEOC Chair Issues Statement on Equal Pay Day 2013," April 9, 2013

  • Our employment law firm in Milwaukee helps people stand up for their employment rights. This practice includes discrimination and wage claims, among other types of disputes. More information about fair wages is available on our Milwaukee Wage Claims page.

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