Today, April 2nd, is Equal Pay Day 2019—when the average American woman finally catches up to what the average American man made in 2018. This date was selected based on the oft-cited figure that women make 80 cents for every dollar a man earns. However, in reality, the gender wage gap varies widely depending on race and ethnicity, meaning that many women won’t catch up with the average man’s 2018 income by this date.
According to Equal Pay Today, this year, Equal Pay Day for black women technically falls on August 22nd, Equal Pay Day for Native American women is September 23rd, and Equal Pay Day for Latinas is November 20th. White women alone have their Equal Pay Day fall on April 19th.
Asian women’s Equal Pay Day fell on March 5th (which is partly why the “average” for women overall is April 2nd), but as the site notes, the wage gap is dramatically different among Asian women of different ethnicities. According to the Center for Economic Policy Research, women of Indian, Taiwanese, Sir Lankan, and Chinese descent all earn more than the average white man, but other Asian-American women—including those of Thai, Hmong, and Laotian descent—earn 60 cents or less for every dollar the average white man does.
On Twitter, many have been highlighting this oversight.
Some pointed out that it’s also not Equal Pay Day for disabled women and transgender women.
And Equal Pay Day on April 2nd also doesn’t include women who take time off to care for their families. A November 2018 report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that between 2001 and 2015, 43% of women had at least one year without any earnings—compared to only 23% of men. If we really want to level the playing field, we need to address this, too.
So let’s remember to keep all women in mind today, and recognize the fact that we need an intersectional approach to the gender wage gap if we’re ever going to see true progress.