Women’s Center’s Equal Pay Day to take place Tuesday

Equal Pay Day, an event that highlights the differences in average earnings between men and women, is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday in RUC, Room 342.At the event, Tech students will address the U.S. and Japanese pay gaps and the reasons behind these variations in wages.

“The topic has been a concern of the Women’s Center since its founding,” said Gretta Stanger, Director of the Women’s Center and sociology associate professor. “If females start out with a lower salary than males and the raises are flat, the gap will get greater every working year.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women on average earned 23% less than men did in 2009- a statistic many future Tech graduates may not know.

“I am vividly and continually made aware of how many students believe that there are no inequities of any type in pay scales,” Stanger said. “I regularly address the beliefs and the facts each term in the Gender and Society class I teach.”

And while this may seem like solely a women’s issue, Katey Perkins, a senior business major, points out that this is something every American should be concerned about.

“Generally, things that impact women both directly and indirectly affect everyone. For women, wage discrimination means that, despite being equally qualified, they are undervalued,” Perkins said. “For men, it means that their friends, girlfriends, wives, daughter, sisters, aunts and mothers are unable to make the money and get the benefits they deserve.”

And as Stanger illustrates, this issue is much bigger than just working extra hours. “Pension amounts are related to salary amounts,” Stanger said. “Females make less, so they often have much lower pensions even though they tend to live longer than males. Females often work part-time and may have no benefits, which leads to females having high medical costs and so on.”

Equal Pay Day was founded in 1996 by the National Committee of Pay Equity. According to their website, the organization decided that Equal Pay day should be recognized on a Tuesday to “represent how far into the work week women must work to earn what men earned the previous week.”

This event is sponsored by the Women’s Center, the American Association of University Women, and the Honor’s URG committee. For more information, go to the National Committee of Pay Equity’s website at www.pay-equity.org. For more information about the Equal Pay Day forum, call or e-mail the Women’s Center at 372-3850 or womenscenter@tntech.edu.