Happy Equal Pay Day, when we note that equal pay for equal work is a stretch goal. We took a quick look at two of our larger government entities to see how they matched up to the national average, and they did not do very well.
Women in St. Clair County made 77 cents for every $1 a man made. Madison County was worse, with women making 74 cents on the dollar.
The national average is women making 79 cents, black women making 63 percent and Latina women making 48 percent.
The average pay last year for the 461 female employees in St. Clair County was $34,371. Men were in the majority at 544 employees averaging $44,884.
Madison County's 628 women employees were the majority and averaged $35,980. Men numbered 562 and averaged $48,886.
Yes, job choices make a difference in pay. Yes, time off for motherhood makes a difference in pay.
But how much do we program our kids to make those choices. Are they into Barb the Builder? Did they get a chemistry or Erector set for their birthdays?
And these are workers being paid with public tax dollars. There is an imperative for government, which tells private employers to strive for gender equity, to clean its own house.
Equal pay, equal work, but first there need to be equal opportunities.