Today is officially Equal Pay Day at Louisville Seminary!
Today is, as many know, Pay Equity Day: the day women’s earnings catch up with those of men’s — from the previous year. The reason Pay Equity Day isn’t December 31 — as it would be if women made, dollar for dollar, what men do — or even January 1 or second, as it would be if women made just about exactly what men do — is that women nationally earn just 77 cents for each dollar men earn. In Kentucky, the figure is a bit worse, 74 cents.
Women’s advocacy groups and organizations have made this day an occasion to raise awareness about ongoing wage discrimination and the ways it affects women. The immediate effects, of course, are that women are more likely to be poor than men. The cumulative effects, however, are dramatic — including an estimated $900,000 – $1 million dollar impact on lifetime earnings that reduces pension and Social Security benefits, and that leaves older women living on smaller incomes on into retirement.
Pay equity is an issue for the church in several ways. The church is called to raise a voice for justice, and this is a clear issue of justice. More concretely, the persistence of inequitable pay is a pervasive influence in the lives of congregations, as it is a pervasive influence in the lives of men and women in our world; it is one of the conditions that is present in every one of the congregations in which women and men who are preparing for pastoral vocations will serve. The equity issue also affects pastors directly. A Barna research study indicated that women pastors, on average, earn 93% of what men earn. That’s substantially better than the national average for women, but still noticeable.
The Women’s Center is pleased and proud that the administration of our seminary shares the commitment to equal pay. Mr. Patrick D. Cecil, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, came out to the LPTS quad this morning at 11:30 — wearing red, along with many members of the community, to show support for the cause of pay equity — and read an official statement proclaiming April 12, 2011, Equal Pay Day at LPTS. The proclamation itself, which looks particularly impressive in its frame, with the seal of the Seminary affixed, is currently on display in the lobby of Nelson Hall. At the end of the week, it will take up permanent residence in the Women’s Center.
The text of the proclamation (for which we admittedly owe a large vote of thanks to the Kentucky Commission on Women) is moving. It reads:
WHEREAS, forty years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, women and people of color continue to suffer the consequences of inequitable pay differentials; and
WHEREAS, according to statistics released in 2010 by the U.S. Census Bureau, year-round full-time working women in 2009 earned only 77% of the earnings of year-round, full-time working men, and in Kentucky earned 74% less, indicating little change or progress in pay equity; and
WHEREAS, according to a January 2002 report released by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, women managers in 7 of 10 industries surveyed actually lost ground in closing the wage gap between 1995 and 2000; and
WHEREAS, according to an analysis of data in over 300 classifications provided by the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics in 2001, women earn less in every occupational classification for which enough data is available, including occupations dominated by women, such as cashiers, retail sales, reisterd nurses and teachers; and
WHEREAS, higher education is not free from wage discrimination according to a U.S. Department of Education analysis, reporting that, after controlling for rank, age, credentials, field of study and other factors, full-time female faculty members earn nearly 9% less than their male counterparts; and
WHEREAS, over a working lifetime, this wage disparity costs the average American woman and her family $700,000 to $2 million in lost wages, impacting Social Security benefits and pensions; and
WHEREAS, fair pay strengthens the security of families today and eases future retirement costs, while enhancing the American economy; and
WHEREAS, Tuesday, April 12 symbolizes the time in the new year in which the wages paid to American women catch up to the wages paid to men from the previous year,
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Patrick A. Cecil, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, April 12, 2011:
EQUAL PAY DAY
at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and urge the members of the Seminary community to recognize the full value of women’s skills and significant contributions to the labor force and to encourage businesses to conduct an internal pay evaluation to ensure that women are being paid fairly.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the official seal of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary to be affixed.
We are glad to have been able to bring the issue of pay equity to the attention of the community today, and hope to keep the community aware of it, and thinking about how the church can respond to it, in the months and years to come.
Last update April 19, 2011