SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To raise awareness of the gap between men’s and women’s wages, state Rep. Lakesia Collins (D-Chicago), co-sponsored legislation to declare March 24 as Pay Equity Day.
“I am hopeful that with this resolution the public will become more aware of the disparities of pay in the workforce,” said Collins. “As a legislator, my number one goal is to be presenting and supporting legislation that empowers Illinoisians and gives all residents the best chance of success, no matter their gender, income level or zip code. The current disparities between pay further exacerbate inequality and worsen poverty.”
Collins was personally affected by this pay disparity from her experience as a nursing home worker. She was overworked and underpaid for it, and as a single mother she knows how detrimental low wages can be on families. On average, in 2018 mothers earned $0.69 for each $1 earned by fathers. Equal pay day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996. It was started as a public awareness event to show the gap between men’s and women’s wages. This is also the reason this year it is March 24, because it represents how far a woman had to work in the calendar year to have earned as much as a man did the previous year.
“If this disparity is allowed to continue, women will continue to be forced to work longer hours to make the same amount of money, making them overworked and overstressed,” Collins said. “This is why the Pay Equity Day raises awareness for a key issue. We will never have true gender equality until this problem is tackled head on and with the public well aware of the issue.”