Today, on this year’s Equal Pay Day, State Reps. Erica C. Crawley (D-Columbus) and Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) reintroduced legislation to fight pay discrimination in Ohio by establishing a toll-free equal pay hotline, an easily accessible, anonymous resource for workers to report wage discrimination and gather more information to find out if they could be victims of pay discrimination.
“According to the Center for American Progress, working mothers make up nearly half of America’s heads of household or primary breadwinners. Furthermore, women make up the majority of some of our most vulnerable, important, undervalued, and under compensated professions including childcare workers, personal care aides, and food service industry staff. On this Equal Pay Day, let’s be better than we’ve been. Let us show our gratitude for all that women have done and will continue to do by closing the gender pay gap once and for all,” said Rep. Boyd.
The average working woman in Ohio is paid only 83 percent of what her male counterpart gets paid, regardless of educational background and job description. Minority women suffer the worst pay disparity: nationally, White women are paid 79 cents, African American women are paid 63 cents and Hispanic and Latina women are paid 55 cents for every $1 paid to white men. Today, March 24, 2021 is Equal Pay Day, which signifies that it takes until today for the average woman to earn the same income that the average man earned in 2020.
“We know that pay discrimination has nothing to do with a woman’s capability and everything to do with access to opportunity. We know that there should be equal pay for equal work, but as the data continues to show disparities persist in wages for the same job type between men and women and is even great for Black women and women of color. This legislation creates a pathway to accountability towards equal pay for equal work, so that our families can thrive in our communities,” said Rep. Crawley.
According to a report published by the White House a typical 25-year-old woman working full time all year earned $5,000 less than a typical 25-year-old man. In just 10 years, her cumulative lost wages will reach $34,000. U.S. Census information shows by age 65, the average woman will have lost $431,000 over her working lifetime as a result of the earnings gap. At the current rate of progress, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported the gender wage gap in Ohio is projected to close in 2067, or 50 years from now.
The Ohio Civil Rights Commission, where Ohioans can currently file individual or group charges of discrimination for investigation, would operate the pay equity hotline. Calls can be made anonymously through the hotline. Anonymity is not required, but is an option for those who may fear retribution from their employer for filing a complaint.