By Noreen Farrell, Executive Director, Equal Rights Advocates
I am not going to sugar coat it. If we do not act now, COVID-19 may well decimate our chance to close the gender and race pay gap harming most working women. Any interruption in a worker’s career trajectory can have devastating effects on their earnings. Soak that in as we realize that Black, Brown, and Asian women account for all job losses in December 2020. They were forced to leave the workforce in droves, through layoffs or because they lacked the paid family leave and family care infrastructure they needed to keep their jobs. Others stayed, woefully underpaid because not enough of us demand one fair wage for all workers.
We can change this course. We have the opportunity to drive the passage of federal legislation raising the minimum wage, abolishing the subminimum “tipped” wage, and, through the Paycheck Fairness Act, close the many legal gaps through which low-paid women of color fall when it comes to equal pay.
That is why we lead Equal Pay Days with partner organizations throughout the year, demonstrating how far into this year women of different races must work to catch up with the average earnings last year of white men. Join us in raising awareness on AAPI Women’s Equal Pay Day next Tuesday March 9. Then, participate in our Week of Action leading up to Equal Pay Day (for all women), from March 17–24, and be one of the 367 million people on social media urging our leaders to finally make fair pay a reality by supporting one fair wage and the Paycheck Fairness Act. Enough is enough.
Noreen Farrell is the Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and expanding economic and educational access and opportunities for women, girls, and gender-expansive people.