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Equal Pay Day Stresses Need for Women to Improve Negotiation Skills

April 19, 2010

LANSING, Mich. - Equal pay for equal work laws apparently aren't serving Michigan women as intended. Tuesday is National Equal Pay Day, and statistics show Michigan ranks 43rd in the country when it comes to the wage disparity between men and women.

Michigan Women's Commission Executive Director Judy Karandjeff says women make about 72 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same job in this state. She says Michigan law prevents wage discrimination, but the gap remains because often women avoid office conversations about compensation.

"That's something that can be changed with women asking for more and learning some new negotiation strategies. But it also can be done by filing lawsuits if you think you're being discriminated against based on your sex, because that's against the law."

Karandjeff says wage disparity begins as soon as women leave college.

"Even when you compare fields, there's discrimination that results, and that women are not earning what men are earning, even with the same education. And studies that were done by the American Association of University Women, they show that college-educated women, when they start, are already behind the male counterparts when they leave school."

Equal Pay Day represents how far into 2010 women must have worked to earn what men earned in 2009. Nationally, women make about 78 cents for every dollar made by men.

Women's organizations across the state, including the National Organization for Women, have an event planned at the State Capitol Tuesday.

Amy Miller/Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MI