In the United States, women are paid about 20% less than men. According to the American Association of University Women, at this rate, national pay equity will not be achieved until 2152.
Earnings ratios vary state to state and student debt has been contributing to the lack of progress. Statistically, the pay gap is even worse for women of color. Black women make 37 percent less and Hispanic women are paid 46 percent less than whites.
Ratios vary by industry as well, and tech has progress to make. According to an evaluation by Hired, female candidates in the field are offered an average of four percent less than their male counterparts, and "63 percent of the time women receive lower salary offers than men for the same job at the same company."
Equal Pay Day aims to raise awareness of this issue. To commemorate it, and to help solve the underlying problem, here are what some top tech leaders are doing.
1) Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of Lean In
In honor of Equal Pay Day, Sandberg launched the #20percentCounts campaign via her organization Lean In, which also partnered with other companies to offer 20 percent discounts and raise awareness through social media. Companies participating include LUNA, Lyft and P&G.
"Equal pay is essential to the goal of gender equality," Sandberg says in a news release about the campaign. "This issue speaks to how we value women's labor, knowledge, time, training, and so much more. In short, it's about women's worth. There's nothing more fundamental than that."
2) Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce
In 2015, Benioff spent $3 million to close Saleforce's pay gap. And he just announced that will spend another $3 million this year to advance the goal.
"I'm proud of the strong stance we're taking as a company and of the hard work that has gone into building our approach to equal pay. We are on a journey to improving equality at Salesforce," wrote Salesforce Executive Cindy Robbins in a blog post.
3) Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google
Google announced via Twitter that the company closed the pay gap among their workers globally. The company is now sharing their methods with other companies on how they managed it.
In its tweet, the company says, "Let's make every day #EqualPayDay."
Senator Kamala Harris published an op-ed in Teen Vogue today voicing her support of equal pay and the tech companies that have made progress in closing the gap.
In the op-ed, she takes note of the efforts of women and politicians before her but acknowledges that much remains to be done. "A 20-year-old woman today would lose $418,800 in wages over her career compared with a male counterpart," writes Harris.
She suggests that more companies should follow the example of Salesforce and Facebook in their commitment to gender equality and diversity in the workplace.