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ABA Launches Virtual March to Mark April 9 Equal Pay Day for Women

CHICAGO, April 9, 2013 — In an effort to raise awareness about the need for pay equity for women, _ President Laurel G. Bellows announced the launch of a virtual “march” on April 9, also known as Equal Pay Day. Bellows is calling on men and women across the country to “Click Your Heels” to join the march and collectively demand the end to gender-based wage discrimination.

April 9 is designated as Equal Pay Day because the average American woman must work an additional three months and nine days of 2013 – to April 9 – to earn what her male counterpart earned in 2012.

Bellows is spearheading the effort with the ABA Task Force on Gender Equity and the ABA Commission for Women in the Profession. Participants can join the virtual march beginning on April 9 by signing onto the “Click Your Heels” campaign on the task force’s website.

“Now is the time for men and women across the country to insist on pay equity,” said Bellows, who will announce the march at an Equal Pay Day rally April 9 in Chicago. “Two-income families are the backbone of our economy. Women are working to support their families either as the single head of household or as a partner. Unequal pay impacts men, women and children.

“Fifty years after the enactment of the Equal Pay Act, it is shocking that women are not earning comparable pay for comparable work,” Bellows continued. “We want to destroy the myth that women have caught up to men in pay equity. We are done with talk. We are walking for action. Click your heels and join our virtual march to achieve pay equity.”

Men and women can also wear red on Equal Pay Day to show support for women who have been “in the red” to their male counterparts. Equal Pay Day resources, including the ABA Toolkit for Gender Equity in Partner Compensation, and other suggested activities are on the ABA Gender Equity Task Force website.

Bellows noted that when the Equal Pay Act was signed into law 50 years ago this June, women made 59 cents for every dollar men made. But in 2013, women who work full-time year-round earn just 77 cents for every dollar earned by men – and that difference has remained largely unchanged for the past decade. The wage gap is even greater for women of color. Latinas earn 60 cents while African-Americans earn 69 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Through the Click Your Heels campaign, Bellows is urging employers everywhere to make pay equity a priority.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a typical 25-year-old woman working full time is already $5,000 behind a typical 25-year-old man in wage earnings. The wage gap costs the average full-time woman worker between $700,000 and $2 million over the course of her lifetime, according to Women Employed economist Evelyn Murphy.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.