Tuesday marks Equal Pay Day - WNEM TV 5

Tuesday marks Equal Pay Day

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Tuesday was Equal Pay Day - the symbolic point in the year when the average working woman finally earns what her male counterparts did the year before.

Despite progress, there's still evidence the wage gap between men and women in the workforce exists. That gap could be as much as 20 percent.

To bring attention to the day Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In Foundation is promoting a 20 Percent Counts campaign. Hundreds of businesses offered a 20 percent discount to their female customers.

"I think all women need to stand up for themselves. Especially when it comes to negotiating salaries," said Judy Donahue.

Donahue stood up for women's paychecks on Tuesday. She works with the American Association of University Women in Midland.

She said there is a special reason for why the day is held in April.

"It's in April because this date and month symbolizing how much longer it takes for a women's salary to catch up to a man's," Donahue said.

It would take an additional four months of work for a women to catch up to what a man made last year.

According to a study by the National Partnership, women who hold full time jobs year round in the United States are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to men. Black women are paid 63 cents and Hispanic women are paid just 54 cents to every dollar a man makes.

Supporters of Equal Pay Day suggest if the gap were closed, Michigan women could do a lot more with their money - like afford food for two more years, pay about 11 more months of mortgage payments and pay for 19 months of child care.

Donahue believes through hard work the gap can close sooner than later.

"It's gonna happen. One statistic said it might take a long time to reach what we want to be, saying somewhere around 2059," Donahue said.

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