by Madeline Farber
Originally published; April 3, 2017
t's been 54 years since the Equal Pay Act became law, but American women are still fighting to make as much money as men. Though women have made strides—they now make an average of 79 cents for every dollar a man earns, compared to 54 cents prior to the Equal Pay Act in 1963—it could take at least 70 more years before the gap completely closes.
Tuesday, April 4 is Equal Pay Day—which represents how far into 2017 a woman must work in order to earn what a man did in the previous year. But it's also a moment to look at why we're still talking about the gender pay gap in the first place. There are many reasons the gap is so hard to close, according to Olivia Mitchell, the director of the pension research council at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Three of the most significant contributors, she says, are the penalty women face for becoming mothers, women's lack of negotiating skills and the bias women face from employers.