What is Equal Pay Day?
Equal Pay Day is used to demonstrate that women – who generally earn less than men – must work longer to earn the same amount that men earned in the previous year. It is recognized internationally; however, the exact day differs both by year and by country. Ontario’s first Equal Pay Day was recognized in 2014.
Why is Equal Pay Day important?
Equal Pay Day brings attention to issues of inequality and may help stimulate discussions and bring forward solutions to narrow the gender wage gap in Ontario.
Equal Pay Day reminds us that many individuals are affected by the gender wage gap and highlights an area where more research and innovative thinking and action is needed.
How is the date of Equal Pay Day set?
Because the date for Equal Pay Day can vary by year and country, it may be an annual day, a day arrived at by discussions with stakeholders and interested groups, or it may be set in relation to the gender wage gap. Various stakeholders and community groups schedule activities across the province to mark the day.
Equal Pay Day is often set in relation to the gender wage gap. For detailed information about the various ways to measure the gender wage gap, see Statistics Canada report: Measuring and Analyzing the Gender Pay Gap .
The date is used to illustrate how long in average, a woman would have to work into the next year to earn the same salary as a man would in the previous year. The actual date of Equal Pay Day can be considered symbolic because it cannot factor in the different methods of calculating the gender wage gap and the way in which the gender wage gap applies to different subsets of women. Research shows that the gender wage gap varies based on race and/or ethnicity, age, occupation, educational background and location. This can make an exact calculation of the gender wage gap extremely challenging.
Taking into account these considerations, it is evident that the gender wage gap exists. Marking Equal Pay Day is a clear reminder that gender inequality exists in the workplace and outside the workplace.