History of the Equal Pay Day

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The Equal Pay Day symbolises the pay gap through a period of time – following the theme: money is time – time is money.

The issue of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value has been internationally acknowledged in 1995 and is enshrined in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

Origin of the Equal Pay Day

The campaign for equal pay originates in the US in the 1960s. BPW and other women's organisations lobbied for Equal Pay Act, which President Kennedy signed in 1963, and the establishment of “Status of Women” commissions in the US.

In 1988, the American BPW estalished the Red Purse Campaign, with which the women symbolised the red figures within women's pockets. BPW Germany followed this thought and initiated the Initiative Rote Tasche in 2008. This initiative was the basis for the Equal Pay Day celebreated still today.

Since 1996, the Equal Pay Day in the US is held by the National Committee on Pay Equity, of which BPW USA/Foundation is a member. In 2002, the Committee decided to celebrate the Equal Pay Day on a given date. This date is set at the second Tuesday in April each year.

Equal Pay Day in Germany

On 15 April 2008, Business and Professional Women (BPW) Germany organised the first Equal Pay Day in Germany. The idea was brought from the USA to Germany by Dr. Bettina Schleicher, Past-President BPW Germany. The campaign was endorsed by the German National Council of Women and numerous women’s associations. Its aim was to disseminate information on the Gender Pay Gap and to encourage women to take the initiative and address the issue of unequal pay in a proactive way.

In 2009, BPW International launched the worldwide EPD campaign in New York. Since 2009, the date of the Equal Pay Day is calculated according to current figures of the Federal Office for Statistics and held annually in a growing number of states across Europe and the globe.

In 2009, the initiators of the Equal Pay Day were awarded 'Selected Place' in Germany - Land of Ideas. Dr. Bettina Schleicher was also awarded with the Federal Cross of Merit for her voluntary commitment and her achievements concerning the Equal Pay Day.

Further Information

National Committee on Pay Equity: History of the Struggel for Equal Pay

BPW Foundation: History

Timeline BPW Foundation/USA

Historie des Equal Pay Day in Deutschland