"How do we value women when they have to work three months and 24 days longer to make the same amount as their male colleagues?" the first lady asked.
First Lady Jill Biden on Wednesday revealed that pay disparity is an issue that has affected her personally. Speaking at a White House event to promote Equal Pay Day, Dr. Biden — a longtime educator — remembered how the excitement of bagging her first teaching job was drained upon learning that she would be paid 25 percent less than a man who was hired at the same time and had the same level of experience. "When I got my first teaching job, I was thrilled. After years of getting my degree and substitute-teaching, I was finally going to be able to start the career I had been dreaming about," she recalled in her remarks, reports ELLE.
"And then I found out that they were paying me only 75 percent of what they were paying the man who was hired at the same time. I couldn't believe it," the first lady continued. "It wasn’t just the money—though that was unfair. It was the lack of respect—the discrimination. Why was my work worth less? We were working the same hours, teaching the same number of students, and had similar experience. That was in 1975. And today, all these years later, there are women who are in the exact same position."
#EqualPayDay is personal to me. https://t.co/dRdycY9J9w— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) March 24, 2021
"This is personal to me because it's personal to all women. It's one example of how we still treat women differently than men. It's wrong. And as this pandemic widens the income and wealth gap between men and women, it's urgent. Because this issue is bigger than the number on a check," Dr. Biden added. According to an analysis from the National Women's Law Center, 100% of the jobs lost in December belonged to women. Women lost a total of 156,000 jobs in December, while men gained 16,000 jobs that same month.
Equal Pay Day: Women paid less than men – it's worse for Black, Latina women, exacerbated by COVID-19https://t.co/Werpu4lthP #EqualPayDay #EqualPayDay2021 pic.twitter.com/7MwZP2zWrP— Evin Lamar | The Lawyer (@EvinTheLawyer) March 24, 2021
"During the coronavirus pandemic, we saw how women disproportionately shouldered the burden of care. Far too many women go without access to paid leave and affordable child care options and as a result, many are forced to decide between losing income or caring for their family — and many have lost their jobs entirely," Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., told USA Today. She added that there is "a long way to go to achieve economic equality for women. The data is abundantly clear that this inequality still exists." Maloney — chairwoman for the House Oversight Committee — examined the pay gap, the disproportionate inequalities women of color face, and discussed several pieces of "feminist legislation" in a hearing yesterday where she heard from witnesses like U.S. Women's National Team soccer star Megan Rapinoe.
Women account for 100 percent of the jobs lost last month. In December, women lost a total of 156,000 jobs, while men gained 16,000 jobs. https://t.co/wwmycvMGF4 #COVID19— DisasterPhilanthropy (@funds4disaster) January 13, 2021
Rapinoe also attended the White House's Equal Pay Day event, where she explained how she felt "devalued" while working as a professional soccer player. Pointing to the success of the US Women's National Team — winning four World Cup championships, four Olympic gold medals, filling stadiums, and more — Rapinoe said: "Despite those wins, I've been devalued, I've been disrespected, and dismissed because I am a woman. And I've been told that I don't deserve any more than less because I am a woman."
Megan Rapinoe: "I've been devalued, I've been disrespected and dismissed because I am a woman. I've been told that I don't deserve any more than less because I am a woman. Despite all the wins, I'm still paid less than men who do the same job that I do." https://t.co/canJYaCV9s pic.twitter.com/yFycaMbVXn— CBS News (@CBSNews) March 24, 2021
"Our work gives us a sense of purpose. It's often how we make our mark on the lives of others—and the world," Dr. Biden added in her remarks. "For me, teaching isn't just a job, it's a part of who I am. That's why, when I became First Lady—the honor of a lifetime—I also knew I had to do it while holding on to this piece of myself. I had to keep teaching. As Joe's dad used to say, a job is more than a paycheck. But our paychecks reflect how we are valued—by our employers and even by our communities."
"How do we value women when they have to work three months and 24 days longer to make the same amount as their male colleagues?" first lady Dr. Jill Biden says at White House event on Equal Pay Day.— ABC News (@ABC) March 24, 2021
"Equal work deserves equal pay." https://t.co/J2tNP2rRRJ pic.twitter.com/2CZXkZtNpt
"How do we value women when they have to work three months and 24 days longer to make the same amount as their male colleagues? How do we value the Black and Latina women who have to work many months more, to make that same number?" she asked. "Equal work deserves equal pay, no matter who does it. Since my first teaching job, we've made progress in many ways—but I don't want my granddaughters to have to fight this same battle. I don't want them to worry about getting paid less solely based on their gender. It's past time to pay women equally."