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NC Women Wear Red for the Money

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April 20, 2010

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - North Carolina women are wearing red for the money. Working women across the country are encouraged to wear that color today for Equal Pay Day, which highlights the wage gap between men and women in the same positions with equal experience. North Carolina women earn about 72 cents for every dollar a man earns, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity.

Cynthia Wilson is the chief executive officer of the Cumberland County Community Action Program, a non-profit group that assists food banks, early childhood education, and self-sufficiency initiatives. She says she sees evidence of the pay difference in the lines at the food pantries her organization supplies.

"The majority of adults who receive food via food pantries are women, and there are children in these families."

Wilson says most women accessing food help are employed.

Another angle on understanding the pay gap: Today represents how far into this year women have had to work to add to their 2009 wages to reach an equal amount to what men were paid for last year alone. Wilson says a lifetime of such pay check inequities has implications.

"If women have received less pay for equal work, then when they retire, they have less funds to go into retirement."

Nationally, women are paid about 77 cents for every dollar a man earns, even though the Equal Pay Act of 1963 mandates equal pay for equal work.

Equal Pay Day statistics are at www.pay-equity.org

Deb Courson, Public News Service - NC