New data shows that we’re still far from achieving equal pay in the U.S. — but today, the White House shared some uplifting news that indicates we’re heading in the right direction. It was announced that 44 companies have signed the Equal Pay Pledge, joining dozens of others that have already committed to this crucial goal. The new signatories — which include a diverse range of employers, among them Square, SoulCycle, AT&T, eBay, The Estée Lauder Companies, ThriveGlobal, and Yahoo — bring the total number of committed employers to over 100. Collectively, they employ millions of Americans.
Women make up nearly half of the U.S. labor force and are increasingly working in positions and fields that have been traditionally dominated by men. Yet in 2016, the median pay for women was $44,800 — more than $15,000 less than the median pay for men, according to new data from PayScale. In addition, PayScale’s report revealed that only 3.5% of males but 18.5% of women say they feel their gender has kept them from receiving a raise and/or promotion.
For African American and Latina women, the gap is even worse; African American women earn 63 cents and Latina women earn 54 cents for every dollar earned by a white non-Hispanic man.
While the gender wage gap continues to be a very real and persistent problem, today’s news from the White House marks progress. By signing the Equal Pay Pledge, these employers are committing to conducting an annual company-wide gender pay-gap audit across occupations and reviewing hiring and promotion processes to reduce unconscious bias and structural barriers.
Many of the 44 new signatories shared their pledges, including Square: “Square is proud to sign the Equal Pay Pledge as a natural extension of our existing commitment to pay equity. Square was built on the principle of inclusion which is reflected not only in the products and services that we provide to our sellers, but also in our internal policies and work environment. We strive to recruit, retain, promote, and compensate our employees on the basis of their qualifications, performance, and potential. We also work with our managers and employees in efforts to prevent gender-based bias from entering the workplace. Most of all, we are committed to continually reviewing our policies and practices to identify and act upon further opportunities for improvement — we will always strive for inclusion, fairness, and equality.”
Square, like the numerous other companies that have signed the pledge, is setting an example for employers across the country. These companies are not only declaring that they’re devoted to understanding and eliminating the gender pay gap, but also that they’re recognizing and addressing inequities that may exist within their walls rather than shying away from the issue.
The Institute for Women's Policy research has estimated that we will not close the gender wage gap until 2059. With this bleak timeline in mind, today’s announcement should be celebrated, but it should also serve as a wakeup call to other employers that have yet to join in the fight for equal pay.
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