What Would You Do With $10,000 Extra Dollars Every Year?

Buy 1,886 Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese Frozen Meals and turn my intestinal track into a cheesy slip-and-slide.  

Or make a downpayment on a house. Or pay for months upon months of groceries. Or fund a full year of in-state college tuition. Or save for vacation, or invest in stocks, or open your own business.   

That’s just some of what you can do with $10,000—and every single year, women are being denied those opportunities and more.  

March 14th is Equal Pay Day.  

Among full-time, year-round workers, women in the U.S. are typically paid only 84 cents for every dollar paid to men. While that 16-cent gap may seem insignificant, it adds up to a lifetime of losses—month after month, and year after year.   

In its totality, the gender wage gap translates into $9,954 less per year in median earnings for women… and $398,160 over the course of a 40-year career.  

That kind of money could mean owning a home. Paying for undergraduate and graduate educations. Saving not just for yourself, but for your children, and for their children.  

Women aren’t able to pursue those possibilities—and for women of color, it’s even harder. Compared to white, non-Hispanic men, over the course of a 40-year career, Latinas lose $1,188,960, Native women lose $1,151,880, and Black women lose $907,680. 

That kind of money could be life-changing—and would have been lifesaving during the pandemic. Racist and sexist wage gaps have always existed, but COVID-19 drove new, harmful economic fissures, leaving women of color stranded at the intersection of racial, ethnic, and gender inequities.  

Women have been stranded and shortchanged for too long.  

Every year that we fail to act takes another $10,000 out of women’s pockets. And when those years turn into decades—and into hundreds of thousands of dollars—their lives end with what-could-have-beens, rather than what we should have done to support women and families right now. 

Today and every day, we must:    

  • Advocate for policies that get us closer to achieving equal pay—including paid family and medical leave and high-quality, affordable child care.  

To learn more, check out our factsheet: The Wage Gap Robs Women Working Full Time, Year Round of Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Over a Lifetime – National Women’s Law Center (nwlc.org)