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President Ouzts' Letter to Members Regarding National Equal Pay Day

Dear SCWLA Members:


April 9th was recognized as National Equal Pay Day by Presidential Proclamation, with April 9th representing the date in the current year through which women must work to match what men earned in the previous year.  President Obama noted in his Proclamation that in 2010, 47 years after the Equal Pay Act of 1963 was signed into law by President Kennedy, women who worked full-time earned only 77% of what their male counterparts did.


Here is the link with the text of the Proclamation:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/04/17/presidential-proclamation-national-equal-pay-day-2012 )


A release from the  National Conference for Women's Bar Associations comments  on the long-term effect of the wage gap:


According to the Department of Labor, on average, women earn less than men, but this effect grows over time for women.  As men gain experience in the labor force their wage gains typically exceed those experienced by women. Taking the wage gaps by age in 2010, if these were the gaps that all cohorts of women faced at each age, then by age 25 a woman working full-time, full-year will have earned $6000 less than a man working full-time full-year. By age 35, a woman who experiences the typical gap at each age in 2010 has earned $28,000 less than a man earning median earnings at every age. By age 65 the earnings gap has ballooned to $379,000.  These facts portray better than any woman can describe the everyday actions which build into the tremendous pay gap between men and women, and it is these every day events that are holding women back from achieving their full potential. It is understandable that many women make decisions to not "lean in" to the work force.  The challenges are significant, and it is hard to keep putting those heels on every day when we know the struggle will continue, and that magical day when we are viewed as equals still seems so far away.  


The Midlands Region of SCWLA recognized Equal Pay Day by hosting a reception for the USC School of Law chapter of Women in Law at Gervais & Vine in Columbia on April 9.  Thirty SCWLA members mingled with fourteen WIL members, enjoying delicious tapas and wine while talking about plans for summer  and post-graduation jobs and life after law school.  It was hard for the students to believe that equal pay for equal work continues to be an issue decades after it was mandated by federal law. 


SCWLA is committed to the encouragement and advancement of women in the profession of law in a world where we hope everyone receives equal pay for equal work.  Let's work toward closing the wage gap so that it won't take another 47 years to reach our goal of earning dollar for dollar what men do.



Cynthia Hall Ouzts