© National Committee
on Pay Equity
Equal Pay Day
2014 Equal Pay Day Activities

This year--in addition to updated reports and fact sheets, proclamations from the President on down, unhappy hours and other activities nationwide—there was an Equal Pay Restaurant Day, as some businesses offered 23 per cent discounts to women on Equal Pay Day.  Discounts were organized in Washington DC by Lean In DC, the local circle of Sheryl Sandberg's LeanIn.Org, and participating businesses included restaurants, fitness centers, jewelry stores, and Uber. 

A coalition based in Washington DC also publicized the dates for observing individual Equal Pay Days for women of color (African American women, Latinas, and Asian American women) and for mothers.

2013 Equal Pay Day Activities

Organizations issued reports and updated information, including:    

AAUW's The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap and The Fight for Equal Pay: A Road Map showing both the legislative and executive action needed to enable women to bring home the pay they have rightfully earned.

The National Partnership on Women and Families' new infographic 2013 Wage Gap Bracket: When Winning is Losing and a Support Paycheck Fairness Pinterest board, plus updated fact sheet listing wage gaps by states and by 50 major metropolitan areas.

The Pay Equity Coalition of Minnesota held an event at the state capitol with the lieutenant governor presenting the governor's proclamation recognizing 30 years since full implementation of the State Employees Pay Equity Act of 1982. This act not only achieved pay equity for the state's largest workforce, of about 40,000 employees, but has maintained it with a built-in annual checkup. Also, this act--and one in 1984 covering all employees of cities, counties, and schools--passed on a bipartisan basis.

Presidential Proclamation on Equal Pay Day was issued.

The National Women's Law Center held an all-day blog carnival and a tweetchat. June marked 50 years since President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. With women making 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, that's nearly $11,000 in lost wages every year. So bloggers participating in the Blog for Equal Pay were asked "What would you do with your $11,000 in lost wages?"  Read last year's blog carnival.

Equal Pay Day is becoming an annual event in other countries. View the campaign ad produced by the Swiss Women's Center and translated from German to English by the International Women's Media Foundation. Zi-kant, the progressive women's movement in Belgium, sponsors Equal Pay Day there with video messages each year.

2012 Equal Pay Day Activities

Blogs, tweets, proclamations, rallies, programs, and other events across the nation marked Equal Pay Day on April 17, 2012. In Washington DC, the Fair Pay Coalition held an Equal Pay Day Briefing in the Capitol, providing information on the status of pay equity legislation in the 112th Congress and updates on federal regulations and Obama Administration programs that support enforcement efforts, state legislation and other local efforts, and state-by-state equal pay data, including the status of efforts to increase the minimum wage and new research on the issue of pay secrecy -- an issue that hindered Lilly Ledbetter's fight for equal pay. Events in New York, Atlanta, and Milwaukee ranged from marches to brainstorming sessions to evening socials.

President Obama issued an Equal Pay Day proclamation.

With the release of The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) unveiled new state-by-state equal pay rankings. Updated for the national observance of Equal Pay Day, which marks how far into the current year women must work to match what their male counterparts earned last year, The Simple Truth charts the wage gap in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The National Women's Law Center materials include NWLC’s state-by-state analysis of the wage gap with a detailed breakdown by level of education, race, and occupation. It reveals that the wage gap exists in every state and persists across races, education and occupations, with few exceptions. More NWLC materials.

The International Trade Union Coalition in Brussels released a report "Frozen in Time: Gender Pay Gap Unchanged for 10 Years" that looks at women's wages in 43 countries and finds that women are paid 18% less than their male counterparts at work. Its major findings:

  • Asia shows greatest wage difference between men and women.
  • New industry ranking puts domestic workers on largest gender pay gap.
  • Women in unionised sectors are less likely to be discriminated against.
  • Male dominated sectors such as construction have the smallest gender pay gaps due to the relatively low numbers of women, and the fact that the women tend to be better educated.
  • Domestic workers show the lowest level of earning and the largest gender pay gaps.
  • The highest 'unexplained gender pay gaps' attributed to discriminatory practices are found in Chile, South Africa and Argentina.
  • A 'child penalty' contributes to keeping women's wages low, particularly affecting women aged 30 - 39.

Equal Pay Day


On the 16th annual Equal Pay Day, people were blogging, tweeting, discussing, and editorializing, and releasing new information about the persistent gender wage gap. President Obama issued a proclamation and supporters of equal pay gathered as a flash mob in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

And women were wearing red, to show that they're still in the red regarding their pay. In 1979, when NCPE was established, women, women earned 59.7 cents for every dollar men earned. In 1996, the first National Pay Inequity Day (as it was then called) noted that--based on 1994 statistics, the latest available--women were earning 72 cents for every dollar men earned. Things haven't improved much since then, with women's earnings hovering around 76-77 percent of men's this century.

Programs and rallies wwere held throughout the country--in Houston, Chicago, Denver, Washington DC--by agencies, such as the EEOC, and national organizations, including AAUW and 9to5. The San Jose-based Coalition for Equal Pay offered an Equal Pay Day Resource Kit for use in high school and college classrooms to raise awareness of the wage gap. The American Library Association observed both Equal Pay Day and National Library Workers Day on April 12.

The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap from the American Association of University Women provides key facts about the gender pay gap, with explanations and resources to help you effectively advocate for pay equity.
Fair Pay flash mob

Right: Members and supporters of AAUW and the Center for American Progress Action Fund showed up on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on Equal Pay Day to participate in a unique demonstration for fair pay. View video!

The Gender Wage Gap By Occupation from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research shows women earning less than men in 107 of 111 occupations, regardless of levels of education. [Press release]

From the National Women's Law Center:

State-by-state equal pay fact sheets from the National Partnership for Women & Families and AAUW show that the wage gap costs America’s working women hundreds of billions in critical income each year. [Press release]

Equal Pay Day 2011 Op-Eds:

2010 Equal Pay Day Activities

Equal Pay Day on April 20, 2010 was a bigger event than ever before, with workshops, programs, rallies, blogs, tweets, video and new publications (below) and a Presidential proclamation.

Carolyn York, NEA; Connie Cordovilla, AFT, NCPE Treasurer; Michele Leber, NCPE Chair, recipient of the 2010 Winn Newman Award; Elaine Newman, NCAUR.
NCPE Chair Michele Leber received the 2010 Winn Newman Award at an Equal Pay Day 2010 ceremony in Washington, DC. Pictured above (from left): Carolyn York, NEA; Connie Cordovilla, AFT, NCPE Treasurer; Leber; and Elaine Newman, NCAUR. 
2009 Equal Pay Day Activities

Equal Pay Day was on April 28, but the celebration of the day lasted all week. On April 30 at a Congressional briefing on the Paycheck Fairness Act, NCPE Chair Michele Leber presented Rep. Rosa DeLauro with the Winn Newman Award for her ceaseless and unwavering support to close the wage gap. The briefing was attended by a roomful of Congressional staff and supporters of the Paycheck Fairness Act.

  • The White House issued an Equal Pay Day Proclamation.
  • The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) released a new analysis that shows that men out-earn women in nearly every occupation for which data are available.
  • On Equal Pay Day, Joint Economic Committee Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) convened a hearing, "Equal Pay for Equal Work? New Evidence on the Persistence of the Gender Pay Gap" focused on a newly released GAO report examining the gender pay gap in the federal government. The Committee examined evidence on the persistence of the gender pay gap and its implications for legislation addressing pay discrimination.
    >> Summary of GAO Report
    >> Full GAO Report
  • Panels and discussions were held across the country on pay equity and the wage gap, and pay equity supporters testified, wrote blogs and opinion pieces, and appeared on various media outlets. Pay Day candy bars, sometimes with wage gap information attached, were handed out, food establishments gave women discounts on Equal Pay Day, and women wore red, because they are "in the red" in terms of their earning.
2008 Equal Pay Day Activities

Above: Sen. Edward Kennedy, sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, speaks at the press conference.  Behind him from left: Michele Leber, NCPE; Lilly Ledbetter; Margot Dorfman, USWCofC; Lisa Maatz, AAUW; Rep. Rosa DeLauro; Deborah Frett, BPW/USA; Rosalyn Pelles, AFL-CIO; Sen. Rom Harkin; and Rep. Tom Allen.

Left:  Lilly Ledbetter accepts the NCPE's Winn Newman Award from NCPE Chair Michele Leber (r.).

Below:  Behind Sen. Tom Harkin at the podium at the press conference, from left, are Margot Dorfman, Lisa Maatz, Deborah Frett, Rosalyn Pelles, and Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Tom Allen.

View the pay equity videos
on YouTube
2007 Equal Pay Day Activities
Alan Callander, AAUW

Key sponsors of pay equity legislation addressed the crowd at the 2007 Equal Pay Day rally sponsored by Women Work! and held on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol on April 24. Pictured above are Sen. Hillary Clinton, co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act; below, from left, are Sen. Tom Harkin, co-sponsor of the Fair Pay Act; Rep. Rosa DeLauro, co-sponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act; Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, co-sponsor of the Fair Pay Act, and Jill Miller, CEO of Women Work!
Photos provided by American Association of University Women (photographer: Alan Callander) and Women Work!

Picured below are The WAGE Project President Evelyn Murphy, at left, and NCPE Chair Michele Leber. Results of a WAGE grassroots survey on workplace discrimination were released jointly by WAGE and NCPE on Equal Pay Day.

Alan Callander, AAUW

PBS's NOW on the News featured an interview with Ellen Bravo about the wage gap. Read excerpts from interview and listen to report.

  2005 Equal Pay Day Activities
  2005 press event DC
  Sen. ClintonSen. Hillary Clinton was among the speakers at a press event on Capitol Hill to recognize Equal Pay Day on April 19, 2005. Clinton, joined by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, announced they had introduced the Paycheck Fairness Act in the Senate and House respectively to put enforcement teeth into the Equal Pay Act, the 1963 law that bars wage discrimination on the basis of sex. Also speaking at the event were Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who introduced the Fair Pay Act to broaden the reach of wage discrimination laws to pay inequities resulting from occupational segregation.
  Michele Leber   Connie Cordovilla

NCPE Chair Michele Leber (left) introduced the speakers at the press event. Among the enthusiastic supporters were NCPE Treasurer Connie Cordovilla (r.).

Feminist Majority news service article about the event.

Equal Pay Day Activities:
Advocates of fair pay have staged a variety of events
to draw attention to Equal Pay Day:

Equal Pay Day was observed in Germany on April 15, 2008; see www.equalpayday.de.

On Equal Pay Day 2008 the Michigan House of Delegates passed two pay equity bills that had been on second reading for a year.

ABC World News reported on the wage gap on Equal Pay Day 2007:
>> Read ABC News report, "Take Control: How to Negotiate Your Salary"
>> Watch video of ABC News report, "Why are women earning less?"

In Charlotte, NC, the Men About Business organizations at Johnson & Wales University hosted an informational and entertainment event outside the university academic building, with participation by local businesses, including Bank of America and BB&T, and carnival activities. The Johnson & Wales Baking & Pastry organization held a bake sale, and participating women received coupons for free hotdogs from a supporting vendor. Local news stations did broadcasts from this event and from the featured evening speech by Omarosa Stallworth, of "The Apprentice."

The Jackson, Tennessee BPW commemorated Equal Pay Day 2007 with a discussion of the wage gap entitled "The Wage Gap, Not Just a Women's Issue," charging admission of $1 for men and 77 cents for women.

In Massachusetts, the city of Worcester held a community-wide event, A Taste of Prosperity, involving more than 20 businesses, some of which gave women a 23% discount, while others donated items for a raffle. The Worcester Public Library provided an information table and gave away cookies with a "bite" taken out of them. The Massachusetts Coalition for Women's Wage Equality, a group convened and led by the state Commission on the Status of Women, sponsored advocacy training and a panel discussion in Boston.

The Women and Girls Foundation of Pittsburgh held a rally downtown in Market Square, pointing out that women in southwest Pennsylvania earn only 69 cents for every dollar men earn. Speakers included Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, the Executive Women's Council, and representatives from the League of Women Voters, YWCA, Women and Girls Foundation, CORO, and New Voices Pittsburgh.

In Denver, 9to5, the National Association of Working Women, led 2007 Equal Pay Day activities including a rally/press conference on the Capitol steps, featuring sponsors of the Equal Pay Day Joint House Resolution, to be introduced, debated, and voted on in the State House and Senate. At the event, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced the formation of a Pay Equity Commission to collect and analyze private and public sector data and recommend policy solutions.

In California, the Coalition for Equal Pay provided sample lesson plans on the issue to high schools and delivered 3/4 cookies to the district offices of Northern California members of Congress and to high schools, in addition to holding a press conference on the Capitol lawn. The Alameda chapter of BPW/USA had a panel of speakers on equal pay issues.

In Presque Isle, Maine, Women Business Owners had a 77 Cent Sale, charging women 23% off items while men paid full price.

In Portland, artist and designer Jessica Esch designed a button for the 2007 Equal Pay Day event.

In Milwaukee, where BPW/USA had an "unhappy hour" at which women were charged 69 cents on the dollar to reflect the state wage gap, both the city and county issued Equal Pay Day proclemations.

In Vermont, the Women's Law Group (WLG) at Vermont Law School in South Royalton, which hosts an information table on campus about the wage gap, held a bake sale to further demonstrate the gap by charging women and minorities less than men for various pastries. Members also wore red in solidarity with women across the country. WLG, which promotes equal participation of women in the legal profession and equal application of the law to all women, raises money for charitable organizations and sent a donation to NCPE in 2007.

In Miami, women dressed in red, and some men, marched for an hour at noon on Equal Pay Day 2006 to make the point that women are "in the red" in terms of their wages.

In Costa Rica, the Costa Rican Association of Graduate Women launched a small campaign to observe Equal Pay Day in their country for the first time in 2006. "Dear friends, we must help each other all around the world to close the wage gap," wrote Nuria Marin, association president.

On Long Island, the Women on the Job Task Force passed out 1,250 Pay Day candy bars donated by Hershey to educate college students about the issue of pay equity and encourage them to contact legislators about the NY State Fair Pay Bill. County executives of Nassua and Suffolk counties issued Equal Pay Day proclamations.

Advocates planned events at state capitols in Massachusetts, Colorado, Texas, South Carolina, Michigan, New Mexico, Nebraska, Vermont, Maine, and other states.

In Madison, Wisconsin, the Business and Professional Women USA/Wisconsin headed to the Capitol for the introduction of equal pay legislation.

In Jacksonville, Florida, the Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women and the Women's Center of Jacksonville sponsored a luncheon at the Museum of Science and History titled, "But I'm Worth It... How to Talk about Salary and Market Value."

In Chicago, Women Employed released a progress report on the organization's Raising Women's Pay campaign.

Activists for pay equity in Minnesota sponsored a morning "UnHappy Hour" event. Members who attended were given 3/4 cups of coffee or latte, received 3/4 of a muffin and had 3/4 napkins to symbolize the almost 3/4 of a dollar that women are paid.

North Carolina Pay Equity Day 2006 supporters cosponsored a press conference in Raleigh that highlighted pay equity issues. At the press conference organized by local BPW/USA members, the North Carolina Justice and Community Development Center released a new report on pay equity in North Carolina state government -- a study that shows that there is a considerable wage gap between female and male state employees.

Kansans and Missourians, not to be outdone on issues of pay equity, held a press conference to commemorate Equal Pay Day 2006. Congresswoman Karen McCarthy (MO-5) and a representative from Congressman Dennis Moore's (KS-3) office spoke about their support of the Paycheck Fairness Act. Copies of the Equal Pay Day Proclamation were distributed and signed by both Congresswoman McCarthy and Congressman Moore's staff member. All three Kansas City TV stations and the Kansas City Star attended the event.

Borders bookstore hosted an "UnHappy Hour" in Utah. Members also participated in a radio talk show, "Monday Night Forum," on KVEL 920 AM for thirty minutes the night before Equal Pay Day. Radio station KVEL also played BPW/USA's pay equity public service announcement all day on Equal Pay Day.

A Pay Equity Gala, organized by BPW/Washington State, included a buffet dinner, silent auction, dessert rush, the debut of a local winery, and a local celebrity emcee. Their keynote speaker was Boeing's first female test pilot. They honored 10 Women of Achievement from the community and raised $4500 for scholarships. They secured major corporate sponsors to help offset the costs.

BPW/Delaware members held a networking event for business and local organizations. At the event, an Equal Pay Day Bulletin Board was set up and Equal Pay Day packets with BPW/USA information and NCPE fact sheets were available. A local business partner provided a $1 off coupon for the cash bar "For Women Only."

In Washington, DC, CLUW activists and NCPE organizational members joined force with BPW members to leaflet subway riders with information on the Pay Equity fight and to present women riders with Pay Day candy bars. At a press conference held on the grounds of the US Capitol, labor leaders, senators, congress persons, athletes and workers noted how important it is to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act.

In Illinois the Equal Pay Act of 2003 was passed out of the Labor Committee in the Illinois House of Representatives. (The Act, which provides that no employer may pay wages solely on the basis of the employee's gender and expands the federal Equal Pay Act to cover employers with four or more employees, rather than 15, was signed by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich in May.)

In Iowa a number of organizations -- including BPW, AFSCME, AAUW, Chrysalis Foundation, Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, Iowa Women's Foundation, League of Women Voters of Iowa, and the Women's Resource and Action Center -- put together a large statewide event for Equal Pay Day. In public places such as libraries and schools in seven cities and towns across the state, a statewide fiber optics network broadcast a program on equal pay with speakers from the University of Iowa Labor Center and the state Commission on the Status of Women.

The Women's Center of Jacksonville, Florida presented their second annual "Spirit of Rosie" (the Riveter) Awards at an Equal Pay Day 2006 luncheon, which cost $20 for men and $15.50 for women.