This year, Equal Pay Day is April 7. On that 97th day of 2021, the average female worker will finally earn the average male worker’s 2020 income.
“Equal Pay Day draws attention to the gender pay gap – how much all women’s work is undervalued and underpaid relative to men’s,” said the Ontario Equal Pay Coalition, which organizes the annual day of action. “But it’s more than that. It is a day to come together and demand real economic security that leaves no one behind.”
Organizers are urging people who support equal pay for equal work to post photos of themselves wearing red to social media and use the #DemandBetter hashtag.
The Ontario Equal Pay Coalition notes that pay inequity between men and women is deepened by other forms of systemic discrimination, such as racism, ableism, transphobia and homophobia. The same is true of the impact of the pandemic on workers.
“Women, and in particular Indigenous, Black and racialized women, and women with disabilities have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Women have dominated the high-risk jobs that don’t allow for physical distancing – such as nursing, care work, cleaning, food services and more,” said the Coalition. “At the same time, women have suffered the greatest job losses as female-dominated industries like travel, hospitality, restaurants, arts & culture, and retail, shut down earliest and remain largely closed.”
Thousands of women have also been pushed out of the labour force altogether during the pandemic to care for young, elderly and ill family members, and facilitate online learning. This is a by-product of systemic pay inequity as women are frequently the lower-earning partner in a relationship.
For more information about the gender pay gap and Equal Pay Day visit: http://equalpaycoalition.org.