National Equal Pay Day highlights gender pay gap

Apr 4, 2017

Tuesday, April 4, marks National Equal Pay Day - symbolizing  how far into 2017 women must work to earn the same amount as men did in 2016.

Executive Director of the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women, Karen King says, the median annual earnings for local women working full-time last year was almost $41,000 versus $51,000 for men. 

ECCSW Executive Director, Karen King (center) says, "gender based wage discrimination is a community problem."
Credit Chris Caya WBFO News

"Based on the current wage gap, a woman who's worked full time, year round, will typically lose approximately $419,000 in a 40 year period. This women would have to work more than ten years longer to make up for this lifetime wage gap," King said.

As a result, she says, the average social security benefit for retired women is about $4,000 less than it is for men of similar age.

Western New York Women's Foundation Executive Director, Shari Scavone says, in a civil society, wage discrimination is more than just not fair. Scavone says it's unjust.

Executive Director of the WNY Women's Foundation, Shari Scavone (center).

"There's no excuse for under valuing one human being's worth at less than another's. It's a set up for losing out on the greatest resource we have which is our human resource and the perspective women bring to their work," Scavone said.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says, over 50 years after the Equal Pay Act was signed, it's unconscionable that some employers feel pay discrimination is okay. Poloncarz says it effects the entire community because it has a negative effect on the economy.