The 2017-18 National Hockey League (NHL) season was a big year for my team, the Capitals. Yes, I have been a die-hard Caps fan since I relocated to Washington, D.C. in the mid-80s. I still remember the old days with Dino Ciccarelli and Rod Langway—when helmets were optional! Which is unbelievable to think now.
To support the team during their drive for the Stanley Cup, fans instituted a “Rock the Red” mantra for game days. I recall my colleagues at the time instigating a staff “Rock the Red” day at the office and saw the beauty of the arena filled with a sea of red. It was a powerful message of support and commitment for our team—a team that had tried and tried for many years to reach the ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.
As I think about the effort, hard work and dedication of the 2018 Caps team and the fans’ continued support and commitment of a team that had failed repeatedly to reach the pinnacle of hockey, I think about those same factors with regard to equal pay. This is a conversation that has been going on for decades in the U.S.—back to the suffragette days of the mid-1800s if you recall from one of my past blog posts. Yet, here we are in 2020, with the statistics still dismal. Did you know:
- U.S. women on average make $0.82 for every dollar men make—an 18% gender wage gap.
- On a typical 9-to-5 workday, women start working for free at 2:40 p.m.
- The average woman must work far into the next year to earn what the average man earns the previous year:
- Asian-American Women*: Feb. 11 — $0.90
- Women**: March 31 — $0.82
- Mothers^: June 4 — $0.70
- African American Women*: Aug. 13 — $0.62
- Native American Women*: Oct. 1 — $0.57
- Latina Women*: Oct. 29 — $0.54
Are you seeing red yet? If not, you ought to be—we all should. These statistics present the stark reality of where women and people of color still are today after years of advocating for equal pay. We are no longer living in the 1800s. Women are full and equal partners in the work force. In fact, women now make up over 50% of the workforce.
March 31 is Equal Pay Day in the U.S. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work in order to earn what men earn in the previous year. The date on which Equal Pay Day is observed is different in every country due to varying formulas for observing the day and wage gaps. In Canada, on average, women earn 24% less than men. In the U.K., women work an average of 63 unpaid days as a result of the gender pay gap, which stands at 17.3%.
The National Committee on Pay Equity suggests that we all wear red on Equal Pay Day to show how far in the red we are in pay for women and people of color. This is a way to show our commitment to this effort to finally reach the goal of equal pay.
Let’s Recognize the Red in our lack of equal pay and finally act on it for the sake of hardworking people everywhere.
*Equal Pay figures for this community vary widely by ethnicity** All U.S. women compared to all U.S. men^All U.S. moms compared to all U.S. dads