Tuesday Marks Equal Pay Day in Colorado

DENVER – It’s Equal Pay Day today in Colorado – the day women workers have finally caught up to what men in comparable jobs made just in calendar 2009, on average.

Dusti Gurule, executive director of the Latina Initiative in Denver, says it’s also significant that the recognition comes on the second day of the work week when looking at wages on a week-to-week basis.

“That day represents the day that most women’s earnings catch up to men’s for the previous week.”

Gurule says another way to look at it is that the average woman worker makes around 77 cents for every dollar a man makes doing comparable work. It’s a number that also varies for different groups; for Latina women, it’s only 56 cents, and often those are women with bachelor’s degrees who make less than a white male with only a high school education. Gurule will speak at an Equal Pay Day rally and reception in Denver tonight.

A non-partisan state Pay Equity Commission was created in 2007, and one of its key recommendations was to make such a commission a permanent part of state government. Gurule says that’s one of the measures they’re calling for today to help close the pay gap.

“Because obviously this issue has not gone away, and it’s not going to go away without continued attention.”

She says another recommendation was to pass a pay discrimination bill, but that was killed in the state legislature. She says they plan to continue working for stronger such laws on the state level.

Donna Evans, who is president and CEO of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, says pay equity is also good for business in the Centennial State.

“Retention is one of the reasons why it’s important that there’s equality in pay; another is talent acquisition. Also, research has shown that companies that provide work-life balance are more productive and provide a better value to stockholders.”

Evans says pay equity could also help lower health care costs for business and families and reduce poverty.

The reception and rally starts at 5:30 p.m. at Club M, 700 E. 17th Ave., Denver. Both Evans and Gurule will speak.

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