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Equal Pay Ruling

National #EqualPayDay: Studies highlight wage disparities between women and men

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WASHINGTON (CIRCA) – Tuesday is National Equal Pay Day, dedicated to calling attention to wage disparities between women and men in the workplace.

The National Committee on Equal Pay started the annual event in 1996. Tuesday was selected to highlight “how far into the next workweek women must work to earn what men earned the previous week,” according to the committee’s website. Its website also encourages the wearing of the color red as a symbol “of how far women and minorities are 'in the red' with their pay.”

According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), as of 2016 women working full time in the United States made 80 percent of what men were paid. New York state had the smallest disparity between men and women’s wages at 89 percent, while in Louisiana the gap was the largest; “women were paid 70 percent of what men were paid.”

A recent 2018 report by PayScale compared the income of all women to all men.

“Women earn 77.9 cents for every dollar earned by men. This figure has moved only slightly from 2016 -- when women earned 76.3 cents for every dollar earned by men,” the report stated.

On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled that women can't be paid less than men based on past wages. The ruling was unanimous by an 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court held "pay differences based on prior salaries are inherently discriminatory under the federal Equal Pay Act because the previous salaries were the result of gender bias," according to The Associated Press.

The AAUW has asked people to tweet on social media about the day and create a “tweet storm” using the hashtag #EqualPayDay. Some big names in the entertainment industry are already taking to social media to talk about the event.

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