On April 9, 2013, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which President John F. Kennedy declared to be the end of the "unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wages than male employees for the same job" when he signed it.
The anniversary, known as Equal Pay Day, marks how far into 2013 women must work to earn what men earned in 2012. That doesn't exactly sound like the Equal Pay Act achieved its goal, does it?
Women in the United States today are paid on average 77 cents for every dollar paid to men -- the gap is even worse for African-American and Latina women -- and according to a new study done by the National Partnership For Women And Families, the gender-based wage gap exists in every state and in the country's 50 largest metropolitan areas.
The NPWF study analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data -- the first ever analysis by metropolitan area -- and found that the wage gap -- the median yearly pay for women who are employed full time is $11,084 less than men’s -- has major implications for their ability to afford essentials like food, housing and gas.
If the gap was eliminated in Seattle, the metropolitan area with the worst wage discrepancy, the study showed, women would be able to afford 2.3 year's more worth of food. In New York City, women could afford seven more months rent (for those of you who live in New York, you know how huge that is). In Austin, a woman could afford 2,369 additional gallons of gas.
The list goes on and on and on -- go check out your own city or state on the NPWF website -- but the point is that the money being withheld from women is not a trivial matter. The situation is especially dire for the more than 15.1 million families where the woman is the breadwinner. Thirty-one percent of these families fall below the poverty line. The gap isn't getting any smaller. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, if things continue to go the way they are going, it will take another 45 years for women to catch up to men.
Forty-five years is a very long time.
LOOK: The country's 50 largest metropolitan areas, ranked from smallest wage gap to largest