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We're Really Looking Forward to Saying 'Happy Equal Pay Day' and Meaning It

We're Really Looking Forward to Saying 'Happy Equal Pay Day' and Meaning It

Tuesday, April 12, is Equal Pay Day, but don’t start celebrating just yet. The day was first organized by the National Committee on Pay Equity in 1996, and symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. While the gender pay gap varies based on several factors including race, ethnicity, and ability, women still make $0.79 on average for every dollar men make.

While women may not currently have a reason to celebrate Equal Pay Day, the fight for pay equity continues. President Barack Obama has supported pay equity throughout his presidency, and in honor of Equal Pay Day designated the newly named Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument (formerly the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum), which will permanently protect a site that is emblematic of the mission of advancing women’s rights.

Twelve-time grand slam winning tennis legend Billie Jean King also recently weighed in on the issue of pay equity in a CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour. “It’s about what’s morally the right thing to do over time,” King told Amanpour. “We can set a great example about getting the gender gap and salaries even. We can set an example.” King added, “It’s such a fight for change. Women have to stick up for themselves and fight for it.”

Five high profile members of the U.S. National Women’s team—Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn, and Hope Solo— are doing just that, and demanding that the nation’s soccer governing body pay female players the same amount as their male counterparts. Last year, the U.S. women’s team generated nearly $20 million more in revenue than the U.S. men’s team. Female players are currently paid about a quarter of what male players earn.

On Equal Pay Day, World Cup Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Megan Rapinoe joined Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and other esteemed panelists for a Glassdoor roundtable discussion on pay equality.

So, we’re not putting on our party hats just yet. However, the continued push to close the gender pay gap is giving us hope that someday we’ll get to celebrate Equal Pay Day on December 31st instead of April 12th. In the meantime, we’ll take Billie Jean King’s advice to keep sticking up for ourselves and fighting for it.

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Cassie Sheets