Today is Equal Pay Day. That’s the approximate day in the year where the average woman working full time gets to catch up to the salary of her male counterpart (or about 79¢ for every one of his dollars).
Although the earnings gap has closed substantially since the 1960s, a new report from U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC) indicates that at the current rate of change, the gender pay gap will not close until 2059. Until it does, women on average earn about $10,800 less per year than men, based on median annual earnings. This adds up to nearly a half million dollars over a career.
But it’s not fair, nor is it accurate, to hang on to that 79¢ as the ultimate indicator of the wage gap. It’s much more complex than that.
That’s because averages don’t always show us the full picture. For example, the numbers change based on race and ethnicity. The National Partnership for Women and Families found that African-American and Hispanic women have an even more significant gender-based wage gap, not just when measured against men, but also compared to white women.