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CO Women: Equal Pay for Equal Work

April 16, 2012

DENVER - Women in Colorado and around the nation are rallying for equal pay for equal work on Tuesday, April 17, Equal Pay Day. It marks the amount of time women work each year before their pay catches up with men's.

Dawn is a single mother of five who works as an office manager. She asked that her last name not be used because she likes her job and employer, but says she also knows that male office managers at other companies make at least $10,000 more a year than she does.

"In my eyes, that $10,000 would help me out so much more with trying to raise five kids. It just seems like women are still paying the price for making the decision to go to work and not be at home."

According to 9 to 5, National Association of Working Women, women in Colorado lose about $6 billion every year because of the pay gap. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits pay discrimination, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 reinforced that right.

Dawn says she can't afford insurance for herself and has to look to public-assistance programs such as food stamps and Medicaid to help supplement her salary.

"If there wasn't a pay gap and if the pay was equal, I probably would not need government assistance."

She adds that the current economic situation makes it even more difficult for women to speak up and ask for equal pay.

"You have to be thankful for what job you do have, and so a lot of these issues, I would prefer not to bring it up and be happy with what I have. Because what would happen if I did bring it up and it caused issues at work?"

Dawn plans to be at Tuesday's noon rally at Tivoli Commons on the Auraria Campus in Denver.

Kathleen Ryan, Public News Service - CO