March 15, 2022
EWNJ’s Statement on Equal Pay Day
Today, we observe Equal Pay Day, a day that represents how much longer the average full-time working woman has to work to make equal what her white male counterpart made in 2021. This unfortunate distinction is even more distressing since it has been nearly four years since The New Jersey Equal Pay Act was enacted into law by Governor Phil Murphy. We still find workplace wage disparity and wage discrimination a challenging issue in the state.
Families are depending on women’s wages more than ever. Furthermore, due to COVID-19, the negative impact on mothers, particularly working mothers of color, has been staggering —with many being forced to either downshift their careers or leave the workforce altogether. In New Jersey, Black women make 55 cents for every dollar compared to white men, while Latinas make 43 cents for every dollar. Continuing along this path of gender pay inequality will result in lower lifetime pay for women, less income for families, and, ultimately, higher rates of poverty across the United States according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
Some of the most taxing issues plaguing our communities—poverty, workforce decline, wealth disparity—are solvable if businesses play the critical role in creating a more stable, prosperous economy–particularly by paying women equally for equal work.
That’s why this Equal Pay Day, we want to challenge you to accelerate closing the gender pay gap in your own businesses. Hire more women in leadership positions with commensurate salaries as men. Create opportunities for mentorship and advancement so that women can grow and lead. Actively support legislation that aims at closing the wage gap. Conduct pay equity audits and act on equalizing the playing field for all women. EWNJ’s data shows that equal pay for women results in a significant boost in the economy, the creation of a competitive workforce, and better returns on equity, sales, and capital that inevitably pushes businesses forward. It’s time for women to be paid fairly to reflect our value and profound contributions.