Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH – Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team

Women comprise almost half of the workforce yet they get paid less than men in almost every occupation. Women overall earn about $0.80 to every dollar a white, non-Hispanic man makes. Unfortunately, this blatant sexism is nothing new which is why we’re celebrating National Equal Pay Day to advocate for equal pay in the workplace.

women get paid $0.78 to every dollar a man makes

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The Gender Pay Gap Is Real.

In 1996, the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) launched Equal Pay Day as a public awareness event to display the wage gap between men and women. Although national and local measures have been attempted to even out the wage gap, there is still a long way to go to ensure equal pay for women-identifying folks. If the change continues at the same slow pace as it has done for the past fifty years, it will take until 2059 for women to finally reach pay parity; for women of color, the rate of change is even slower. Thus, the gender wage gap has global, local, and national consequences economically, socially, politically, and personally.  

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The opportunity gap describes the phenomenon in which women move up the career ladder at a slower pace than men with the latter being more likely to hold higher-level, high-paying jobs than the former. At the start of their careers, between the ages of 20-29, 74% of men and 75% of women are in individual contributor roles; by mid career (ages 30-44), 47% of men are managers or higher, while only 40% of women reach this level. By late career, 57% of men and merely 41% of women are managers or higher. 

How to Advocate for Equal Pay 

  • Check out the salary for your job position in the area
    • Before you go in for your interview, do some research on the general salary of your position in the area you will be working. This way, you are prepared to negotiate if necessary to ensure you (and the ones who follow) are getting paid a fair amount. Plus, you will be able to make sure that you have the right qualifications for the job and the rate you will be earning.
  • Prepare for the “Talk”
    • What are your strengths?
      • In order to advocate for equal pay in the workplace, you must have a valid, personal argument. Unfortunately, merely calling out a company’s sexism is not going to help you get a pay raise — although you can definitely mention how it negatively affects your daily life. Instead, write down a list of your strengths, ensuring you are being honest, while tailoring them to the role you have in the company. 
  • Why you deserve equal pay
    • You must walk into your boss’s office or the hiring room with a strong case of why you deserve to be paid the same as your male counterpart — sounds ridiculous but these are hard times. Your list of strengths will play a large role in this step as you will have a multitude of reasons for why you deserve equal pay — aside from the fact that it’s the right thing for the company to do!
please & thank you

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  • Talk with other women on your team
    • Express your concerns about the gender wage gap to other women on your team; solidarity among women can enhance community, security, and confidence for everyone. And, if enough women feel that the company is unfairly paying them less than the men, it will be easier to speak with your boss about the issue. After all, if even a small group has an issue in the organization, it affects the rest of the workplace as well; in your employer’s eyes, this means a decrease in financial and social security which does not look good.
  • Use social media to discuss equal pay
    • Share campaigns on your feed and follow activists for equal pay. Social media is a very powerful tool that can be used to connect with other like-minded individuals — and for engaging in conversation with people who hold opposing views! Use your platforms to educate, to learn, and to advocate. Need advice on where to start? Follow Pandia Health on Instagram, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel for information and resources on reproductive justice and women’s rights.


The above information is for general informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor/primary care provider before starting or changing treatment.