Better late than never. Today, in celebration of Women’s Equality Day, Apple, CVS, Facebook, Target, Visa, and 24 other private sector companies have signed a pledge that promises to close the infamous gender pay gap among employees.
While attempted progress has been made in the past, the latest Census Bureau data shows that full-time working women still only make 79 cents for every man’s dollar. And the gap is even more significant for African American women, who only make 63 cents for a man’s dollar.
The pledge was launched at the first-ever United State of Women Summit this past June, where influential activists such as Michelle Obama and Oprah discussed the importance of equal pay in the fight for gender equality. Today a new group of employers signed on the pledge and existing employers have formed a consortium called the Employers for Equal Pay Consortium. The pledge sponsors encouraged all companies from across the U.S economy to take part in the commitment, and the signatories added today brings the total number to more than fifty companies and organizations.
So what does this pledge actually guarantee? By signing, these employers are required to conduct an annual analysis of their employees’ salaries across sexes, to implement hiring and recruiting processes that reduce bias, include equal-pay efforts into their company-wide initiatives, and in doing so, acknowledge their role as businesses in the fight for gender equality.
Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve made serious effort to close the gap. Similar legislative steps have been made in the past. President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, which “aimed at abolishing wage disparity based on sex.” President Obama’s first legislative action was the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, which amended the Civil Rights Act to “ensure fair pay for all Americans.” And the progression of social constructs and ideals throughout time has led the gender pay gap to narrow significantly.
But we’re tired of narrowing, reducing, decreasing the pay gap. We want the gap shut, closed, and sealed so it can’t breathe another day again.