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The Columbus Dispatch
What is Equal Pay Day and how does Columbus measure up?
By Danae King,
The gender pay gap affects women of all races, nationalities, sexual orientations, gender expressions and lifestyles.
Equal Pay Day is March 14 this year, showing how far into the next year women in the United States have to work to earn what men did in the previous calendar year, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.
Though the pay gap is narrowing, it's happening slowly. The institute estimates that it will take decades for women workers to reach pay equity with men. In 2021, full-time, year-round female employees were estimated to need 38 years, to 2059, and all women were estimated to need 33 years, to 2054, according to the institute.
Women working full time earned 83% of men’s median weekly earnings in 2022, according to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, which is why they have to work almost three more months into the next year to make the same amount of money.
Median annual salary for 2021 in Columbus for full-time, year-round civilians employees 16 years old and over was $51,734 for men and $48,884 for women, according to U.S. Census Bureau data as provided by the Columbus Women's Commission.
For all civilian workers, it was $41,163 for men and $34,303 for women, according to that data.
Women were also more likely to have income below the poverty level than men within the Columbus metro area, said Bill LaFayette, a central Ohio economist who used Census data to find the numbers.
Of the 9.2% of people living below the federal poverty line, 41% were men and 59% were women, Lafayette said.
Is pay different for women of color?
Pay discrepancies also differ by race, experts say and data confirm.
Black women need to work seven extra months into the new year to match what white, non-Hispanic men made the previous year, according to Equal Pay Today. Last year, it was nine months into the year.
Black women get paid 67 cents for every dollar white men are paid, according to Equal Pay Today, and last year that number was 58 cents. Black Women's Equal Pay Day is July 27 this year.
Latina women must work 10 months into the new year to match a white man's salary, as they make 57 cents for every dollar men make, which has stayed consistent from last year. Latina Equal Pay Day is Oct. 5 this year.
An advisory body to Mayor Andrew Ginther, the commission strives to advance the economic well-being of women. The 24-member group’s goal is to “dismantle barriers and reduce gender-based inequities to improve the economic position of women in our community.”
A public foundation which relies on support from the community, the Women's Fund of Central Ohio is focused on gender equity and does research, advocacy and invests in women and girls. It was founded by 15 women in 2001 to address the lack of funding for women and girls in central Ohio.
Through research in 2019, it identified elimination of the pay gap as one of four "wealth accelerators" that can help improve a woman's ability to build wealth.
A membership organization, Together Digital works to educate and empower women in digital fields. Members share expertise, professional development tips and friendship. A survey found that 69.7% of members increased their salary in 2021.
WELD is a nonprofit that helps to develop and advance women’s leadership to strengthen the economic prosperity of the communities it serves by giving women tools, offering leadership programs, community support and mentoring.
It was founded in Columbus in 2003 and is now a national organization.