Equal Pay Day highlights how far into the year women must work to equal what men earned the previous year.
It changes every year and March 31st is the earliest date it has been since 1996, which is a sign that the gender pay gap is narrowing.
Although at the current rate, it will take until 2059 for women to achieve equal pay.
For about 20 years, through the 1960s and 1970s, the female-to-male earnings ratio was stagnant, hovering between 57 to 61 cents to the dollar of male earnings.
At its lowest point in 1973, full-time, working women earned a median of 56.6 cents to every dollar that full-time, working men earned.
During the 1980s, the pay gap narrowed nearly 10 cents, marking the most income gain in any decade.
It took nearly another 30 years for women to gain the next 10 cents to reach 2018’s ratio of 81.6 cents on the dollar.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey Data tracks the median earnings of full-time, year-round workers used to calculate Equal Pay Day.
The Equal Pay Day initiative started in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity to spotlight the gap between men’s and women’s wages.
NCPE estimates that “over a working lifetime, this wage disparity costs the average American woman and her family an estimated $700,000 to $2 million, impacting Social Security benefits and pensions.
The gender wage gap varies depending on women’s education, race and whether they are married or have children, among other factors.
While overall wages rise with education, the pay gap increases for women with higher levels of education as compared to men, according to American Community Survey data.
Working women with a bachelor’s degree and higher only earn 75% percent of what their male counterparts do, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Factors such as age and experience can play a role as women workers with a bachelor’s degree are younger on average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The pay gap even exists in occupations within all pay and education levels. However, in select occupations, such as graphic designers and pharmacists, the gender pay gap has nearly closed.