Soroptimist Supports Equal Pay Day

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International women's organization releases white paper on "gender wage gap".

the losses to women and their families are large and can be devastating

The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963, but today women in the U.S. still earn roughly 78 cents to a male colleague's dollar -- a gender wage gap of 22 cents -- according to a white paper, The Gender Wage Gap, released by Soroptimist, an international volunteer organization of business and professional women headquartered in Philadelphia.

One in a three-part series of white papers on "working women," The Gender Wage Gap explores the pay inequities women face in the workplace and is being made public on the Soroptimist website in support of Equal Pay Day, April 28. The National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) originated Equal Pay Day in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages.

Working families in the United States, for example, lose $200 billion of income annually to the wage gap, according to the white paper. If the wage gap were eliminated in the United States, annual family incomes would increase, on average, by more than $4,000 and the poverty rate would be cut in half.

"Pay equity addresses the poverty that impacts not only women, but their families and their communities," said Soroptimist Executive Director Leigh Wintz. "With more families today depending on women's paychecks for their livelihood, equal pay is not simply a woman's issue. The wage gap hurts everyone because it lowers family incomes that pay for essentials, such as groceries and child care."

When the wage gap is accumulated over many years, "the losses to women and their families are large and can be devastating," according to the white paper. Even with increased time in the labor market, women cannot make up the loss in lifetime earnings, and enter retirement with fewer economic resources than men.

"Women and our families are being shortchanged thousands of dollars a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime," Wintz added. "Lower wages follow women into retirement during which they receive lower pensions and Social Security benefits based on their previous salaries. On Equal Pay Day--and every day--we need to support laws that enforce equal pay legislation, encourage businesses to pay women fairly and educate the public about this critical and multi-faceted issue."
Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., Soroptimist is an international volunteer women's organization offering programs that improve the lives of women through three distinct platforms: economic empowerment, elimination of violence, and gender equality. Its major program, the Soroptimist Women's Opportunity Awards, provides cash grants for women seeking to improve their lives with the help of additional education and training. Each year, more than $1 million is disbursed to deserving women through this award-winning program. Soroptimist, a 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, also sponsors the Live Your Dream campaign in recognition of the power of women and their dreams. Visit the campaign's online home at: For more information on how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit


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