Maine Rep. Erin Herbig: The Gender Pay Gap Is Real & US Must Catch Up

State Rep. Erin Herbig (Belfast) is a legislator in the Maine House of Representatives, where she chairs the Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development. Eliza Townsend is the Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Policy Center and Maine Women’s Lobby. In advance of Equal Pay Day on April 8, they published an op-ed on the gender wage gap, excerpts of which are below:

The gender pay gap is real, and it shows the US has a lot of catching up to do

By Erin Herbig and Eliza Townsend, Special to the BDN
Posted April 07, 2014, at 12:31 p.m.
Equal Pay Day, Tuesday, April 8, marks how many more days a woman must work to earn the equivalent of what her male counterpart earned the previous year.
Gender-based pay discrimination has been outlawed since 1963, but in 2012 women working full time in the United States earned just 77 percent of what men did. In Maine, the gap is slightly smaller, with women earning 83 percent of what our male counterparts make, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The gap is wider for women with a lower level of education.
Those lost wages not only affect individual women but also their families and our society as a whole. Most families rely on the income provided by women to make ends meet, and less money earned means less returned to the economy in the form of purchases or the payment of housing costs.
By strong margins, Americans of every stripe support policies that benefit women, our families and our society. It’s time to act on them.
To view the rest of the op-ed at the Bangor Daily News, please click here.