Women working full-time year-round are paid only 77 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Such a statement shouldn’t be true in the arena of gender equity, where the commonplace conception is that, as history progresses, we are moving closer and closer to full equality between men and women. Unfortunately, last week’s census data suggests that, at least in terms of the pay gap, things are very much the same.

For full-time, year-round workers in 2011, median earnings for women were $37,118 compared with $48,202 for men.

The census data confirmed what many working American women already know: They are being paid less than their male counterparts. For at least the tenth year in a row, women were being paid less than 78 cents for every dollar earned by men. Over a lifetime, this gap amounts to a loss in wages for a woman of $700,000 for a high school graduate, $1.2 million for a college graduate and $2 million for a professional school graduate.

Black women working full-time, year-round are paid only 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

The Paycheck Fairness Act would make a dent at addressing this pressing social injustice. It would strengthen the outdated Equal Pay Act of 1963 by prohibiting employers from penalizing employees for sharing information about their salaries with coworkers, authorizing the Labor Department to develop voluntary guidelines to enable employers to evaluate job categories based on objective criteria and strengthening the ability of employees to bring class action claims against employers who violate the Equal Pay Act.

Hispanic women working full-time, year-round are paid only 55 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

As Jews, we were the victims of a two-tiered economic system for thousands of years. We know the economic, psychological and social repercussions of not being treated, or paid, fairly. Now is our turn to give back and take action. Click here to participate in the RAC’s efforts on the Paycheck Fairness Act, and click here to join in a national campaign to raise Congress’ awareness about paycheck disparities.

Image originally found here.