Equal Pay Day is the symbolic day dedicated to raising awareness of the gender pay gap. The date for 2017 is April 4.; since this date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year, the exact day differs both by year and by country. For example, Equal Pay Day in 2005 in the United States was on April 19. In 2016, the average salary for females in the United States was 79% of that of the average male.
The symbolic day was first observed in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity, a coalition of women’s and civil rights organizations, labor unions, professional associations and individuals working to eliminate sex and race based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity.
The gender pay gap is defined as the average difference between men’s and women’s aggregate hourly earnings. The wage gap is due to a variety of causes, such as differences in education choices, differences in preferred job and industry, differences in the types of positions held by men and women, differences in the type of jobs men typically go into as opposed to women (especially highly paid high risk jobs), differences in amount of work experience, difference in length of the work week, and breaks in employment. These factors resolve 60% to 75% of the pay gap, depending on the source. Various explanations for the remaining 25% to 40% have been suggested, including women’s lower willingness and ability to negotiate salaries and discrimination. According to the European Commission direct discrimination either does not cause any gender wage differences or only explains a small part of it.
The Facts About The Gender Wage Gap In Canada
The gender wage gap is the difference in earnings between women and men in the workplace.
It is a widely recognized indicator of women’s economic equality, and it exists to some extent in every country in the world.
A 2015 UN Human Rights report raised concerns about “the persisting inequalities between women and men” in Canada, including the “high level of the pay gap” and its disproportionate effect on low-income women, visible minority women, and indigenous women.[i]
Out of 34 countries in the OECD, Canada had the 7th higher gender wage gap in 2014.[ii] To learn more about economic inequality in Canada see our fact sheet on women and poverty.