On April 17, the League of Women Voters, the American Association of University Women, the National Organization of Women and other committed advocates from across the state will participate in an Equal Pay Rally for women at the Missouri State Capitol Rotunda at 11:30 a.m.
April is symbolic of the point into the new year that a woman must work in order to earn the wages paid to a man in the previous year. In Missouri, women are paid only 78 cents for every dollar a man is paid. This wage gap costs the average American full-time woman worker between $700,000 and $2 million over the course of her career. The gap is compounded when pay increases are based on percentages of wages.
AAUW’s publication, Graduating to a Pay Gap, found that one year out of college women are paid, on average, of 82 cents for every dollar paid to their male peers. The report further shows that women are paid 7 percent less than men even when they work in the same job, major in the same field and work the same number of hours per week. A study by the American Medical Association reports the annual salary of male doctors exceed that of female doctors by $12,000.
The women’s pay gap is a critical economic issue for many families who rely on wives' and mothers' incomes, especially in single-parent families. For all the mothers, sisters, wives and daughters, we hope you will join us in bringing attention to this economic injustice on April 17. We will be wearing white to celebrate working women.
Holly Burgess is president of the American Association of University Women Columbia Branch. Carol Schreiber and Marilyn McLeod are co-presidents for the League of Women Voters of Columbia-Boone County.