April 11, 2016 / 7:04 PM / 4 years ago

Factbox: Equal Pay Day spotlights stubborn wage gap between the sexes

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The United States will celebrate Equal Pay Day on April 12.

The awareness-raising day has been observed for two decades to mark how long women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year.

U.S. government data shows women earn 79 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same work.

Below is a list of facts about this symbolic day:


- A woman in the United States must work about four extra months to earn the same as her male counterpart.

- Equal Pay Day was first celebrated in 1996 and originated with the National Committee on Pay Equity.


- The White House typically issues a presidential proclamation of National Equal Pay Day.

- Supporters wear red to illustrate how far women are ‘in the red’ with their pay.

- This year, some will celebrate “unhappy hours,” a play on words in reference to bars’ practice of happy hour, in places including Houston, Texas and Washington.

- In New Hampshire, a handful of businesses such as bakeries and cafes say they will charge women 79 percent of their bill to make up for the pay gap.

- Advocates plan rallies across the nation from Chicago to Pittsburgh and New York City.

- Activists have planned activities in at least 27 states, according to the American Association of University Women.


- To emphasize that the pay gap is even bigger for women of color, a coalition of advocates celebrate Equal Pay Days at other times of the year.

- Asian American women’s Equal Pay Day is observed in March.

- For African American women, there is an Equal Pay Day in August.

- The Latina Equal Pay Day takes place in October.


Equal Pay Day has caught on across the world.

- In Germany, Equal Pay Day was celebrated on March 19.

- In Switzerland, it was held on February 24.

- In France, Equal Pay Day fell on March 29.

- In the United Kingdom, Equal Pay Day was celebrated on March 11. An earlier celebration was held on November 9, 2015, symbolically showing that if women were earning the same as men, they would not be paid for the last two months of the year.

Reporting by Sebastien Malo, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org

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