#EqualPayDay: Female Leadership Is Key to Closing the Gender Pay Gap

22 years after the first Equal Pay Day was observed, a federal court ruled that employers can no longer pay women less than men for doing the same job ― regardless of what their past salaries were. Equal Pay Day was organized in 1996 thanks to a coalition of women’s and civil rights organizations, labor unions, professional associations and individuals working to eliminate sex and race-based wage discrimination and to achieve pay equity known as the National Committee on Pay Equity.

The most recent figures show women earn $0.80 on the dollar of their male colleagues, according to the Institute of Women’s Policy Research. 

But Harris Poll research shows that the effects of the gender pay gap extend far beyond the statistics around women earning less. Our survey for Prudential’s State of Financial Wellness in America report, which surveyed several thousand Americans on financial wellness, showed that women are significantly more vulnerable financially than men, encounter more financial stress than men and are not taking advantage of retirement investing.

This study identifies well-known prescriptions employers can take to help close the financial wellness gap, such as providing women access to affordable child care, paid parental leave, flexible work arrangements, and dedicated financial education and planning resources.

What can help accelerate these workplace changes? According to the American public, more female leadership is the key. A recent Harris Poll revealed that 75% of Americans said working in a female-owned company means female employees are more likely to get equal pay for equal work as their male counterparts, and 81% of women and 75% of men believe female-owned companies are more likely to include benefits like access to childcare.