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How your small business can support Equal Pay Day on March 12, 2024

It’s no secret that gender discrimination is a key issue in the fight for universal equality, but what can we do to change it?

The Equal Pay Act became law more than half a century ago, yet women in the United States still earn only 82 cents for every dollar their male coworkers take home. For women of color, the wage gap is even wider: In 2023, the Pew Research Center found that Black women earned only 70% as much as white men, while Hispanic women came in even lower at 65%. As frustrating as this ongoing disparity might be, there’s still plenty we can all do about it.

Whether you’re a small business owner who hopes to improve pay equity in your workplace or an employee looking for ways to raise your voice, you already have the power to effect change, You just need the right tools. Here’s everything you need to know about Equal Pay Day in 2024 — including how to support your colleagues, inspire lawmakers, and help eliminate the wage gap once and for all.

2024 Equal Pay Days for women and those underrepresented

Although the gender wage gap is a serious issue on its own, it’s also important to recognize that race-based wage discrimination also affects women in the workplace. Other factors, like maternal status and sexuality, can also affect women’s salaries. While Equal Pay Day on March 12 draws attention to the wage gap between all women and men, multiple communities have their own Women's Equal Pay Day as well. 

Here are when Equal Pay Days fall in the United States:

Equal Pay Days in the US

Because gender-based wage discrimination is prevalent the world over, the majority of industrialized nations also recognize Equal Pay Day. Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, and the U.K. are just some of the other countries that will be observing alongside the United States.

10 stats to show the importance of equal pay

The more data we examine, the clearer the problem becomes. Consider these statistics, which demonstrate how the gender pay gap directly affects the kinds of opportunities and financial planning options all women will have later in life. 

  • According to Intuit QuickBooks’ Entrepreneurship in 2024 survey, nearly half (48%) of women respondents estimate their net worth at $50,000 or less, compared to only 31% of men. 
  • Women report an average net worth of $489,000, QuickBooks’ survey found, while for men, this number jumps to $778,000. 
  • One in two (54%) women business owners reported earning less than $50,000 in revenue last year, QuickBooks found, compared to 30% of self-employed men.
  • In 2021, women managers earned an estimated 77 cents for every dollar that male managers took home, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office
  • The United States Census Bureau found in 2022 that 35 stages had a gender wage gap over $10,000.
  • Women earn less than men in almost all occupations, according to the United States Department of Labor.
  • The National Women’s Law Center reports that wage discrimination costs Black women $907,680 in earnings over a 40-year career. For Latinas and Native women, the number jumps to over $1 million.
  • That same organization found that Black women who work full time typically need a Master’s degree to earn more than white, non-Hispanic men who hold only an Associate’s degree.
  • Mothers who work full time earn an average of 75 cents for every dollar that fathers make, according to the National Women’s Law Center.
  • According to the Human Rights Campaign, trans women earn only 60 cents on the dollar compared to the average American worker.
10 wage gap stats for Equal Pay Day

How businesses (and individuals) can help support Equal Pay Day

Closely examine the current compensation structure within your organization. Is it fair? Are the women you employ getting paid the same rate as the men for comparable work? If the answer to either of those questions is no, it’s time to learn how to create a safer, more inclusive and inspiring workplace.

To ensure you’re doing everything you can to encourage pay equity within your organization, consult with your human resources team. Make sure that salary ranges for all positions are set to fit within your local market, and that the ranges correspond to objective criteria like years of experience, degrees earned, and cost of living.

If you’re looking for another way to reduce wage discrimination in your workplace, you can also pledge to no longer ask potential job candidates for their salary history. This discriminatory practice has historically allowed organizations to shortchange employees from underrepresented backgrounds.

Depending on the structure of their workforce (and their own personal willingness to be involved) CEOs, small-business owners, and employees at all levels can make their voices heard. Whether you’re in a position of leadership or not, consider the following ways you can support Equal Pay Day more broadly:

  • If you hold a position of power within your workplace, make sure to actively encourage employees to speak out about issues that matter to them, including equal pay. 
  • Offer time off from work for employees who wish to attend a march or rally. 
  • Reach out to your state and federal representatives and ask them to fight for equal pay regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Encourage your staff and employees to do the same.
  • Provide resources for employees interested in contacting local leaders. The National Committee on Pay Equity offers a number of templates that anyone can submit to local leaders and media organizations.
  • Create shareable social media posts that advocate equal pay for all women.
  • Have a conversation with your team about your business’s efforts to improve pay equality both within and outside your organization. Encourage employees to discuss areas for possible improvement.

You don’t have to be an activist, a policymaker, or a CEO to help lead the charge for equal pay. Whoever you are and whatever you do, look for opportunities to speak up and improve the way things run in your own backyard. Our work is far from over when it comes to closing the wage gap, but if we all do our part, we can help create a better world for future generations. 

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Equal Pay Day FAQ

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