Just in time for Equal Pay Day 2019 on Tuesday, April 2—a day to address America’s gender- and race-based income disparities—a new poll from SurveyMonkey suggests that nearly half of men believe the pay gap isn’t a “legitimate issue.”
The survey, conducted in March and reported first by Time magazine, featured 8,566 American adults.
Of those surveyed, 46% of men reported they believe the pay gap “is made up to serve a political purpose.”
Twenty-four percent of men ages 18-34 said media reports of gender pay inequalities are “fake news.”
But overall, 62% of Americans, according to the survey, acknowledge that men make more money for similar work.
According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, women make about 81 cents to every dollar a man earns.
In 1996, the National Committee on Pay Equity observed the first Equal Pay Day to bring light to sex- and race-based discrimination. It represents about how far into the year a woman must work in order to make what a man did the year prior.
For working women of color, the gap is even wider when compared to both white men and white women.
In fact, according to a 2018 report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, black and Hispanic women with either full- or part-time jobs typically earn 61 cents and 53 cents on the dollar compared to men, respectively.
And the numbers might actually be worse if you account for the fact that women are more likely than men to leave full-time work to take care of children or family.
The women’s policy think tank examined a 15-year period of earnings to understand how that factors in to the gap. They found that over the 15 years, women made 49 cents—not 81 cents—for every dollar men made.
“While men are also penalized for time out of the workforce,” researchers noted, “women’s earnings losses for time out are almost always greater than men’s.”
To help narrow the gap, the IWPR encourages strengthening enforcement of equal employment policies, such as paid family and medical leave and affordable child care. Studies have shown that such changes “can increase women’s labor force participation and encourage men to share more of the unpaid time spent on family care.”
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