HARRISBURG, Pa. — March 15 is Equal Pay Day, a day set aside to raise awareness about how much women make in comparison to men in the same position and workplace.
The Pennsylvania Commission for Women highlighted the importance of equal pay across all genders on Tuesday and called to eliminate the wage gap in the commonwealth.
Equal Pay Day was first recognized in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity. The organization says March 15 was chosen to show how far into the year women must work to earn what men have already earned a year prior.
Pennsylvania officials said some women can't even afford the services they provide in their day to day jobs.
"Many of these low-paid, critical roles are filled by women nationwide," said Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier. "Women account for nearly 89% of the home health and direct care workforce and 94% of the childcare workforce, but in many cases these same workers can't afford food, childcare or healthcare themselves."
For women of color or women who have disabilities, the wage gap is even more significant.
Data shows Black women only earn 63 to 64 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. Hispanic women experience the largest wage gap, earning just 57 cents for every male dollar.