No matter how you parse them, the numbers are staggering. On average, females in the U.S. workforce are paid $0.80 for every dollar earned by their male counterparts—this according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). The news is even worse for women of color, with African Americans making $0.63 and Latinas $0.54 compared to each dollar paid to white men—figures that make it hard to imagine the Equal Pay Act was passed more than 55 years ago.
The aggregate statistics are even more mind-blowing. According to the National Committee on Pay Equity, the total estimated earnings lost by a woman compared to a man over the span of a nearly 50-year career are $700,000 for a high school graduate, $1.2 million for a college graduate, and $2 million for a professional school graduate. There is more. Research by the IWPR suggests that if the sexes were compensated equally, the poverty level in this country would be cut in half and women would add $513 billion to the nation’s economy.