Learning to Count – Equal Pay Day

Vintage schoolbook illustrations

Vintage Schoolbook Illustrations

While learning how to count in elementary school …we also learned who counted.

Instructions in arithmetic, the school books informed the reader, were geared “to help the pupil appreciate the ways in which numbers function in the activities of daily life” and the authors of these mid-century elementary schoolbooks hoped “to give pupils real life problems to solve, problems they would encounter in real life.

Uneven Division

The real problem was the discrepancies between the sexes just didn’t add up.

While Bobby earned $1 for a days work, poor Betsy earned only 77 cents.

Learning to Count


vintage schoolbook illustrations

Vintage School Book Illustration “Arithmetic We Need” 1955

Today is officially Equal Pay Day

The idea of a gender based wage gap today seems as antiquated as these vintage arithmetic school book illustrations.

April 8 is the day that the average woman’s wages finally catch up to the average mans earning from the year before. Women have to work 3 extra months into 2014 before wages were as much as mens were at the close of 2013.


More or Less



vintage schoolbooks illustrations

Vintage Schoolbook Illustrations “Study Arithmetic” 1947

Hard to imagine Women today still get paid less for the same job men

Lets Compare


vintage schoolbook illustration

Vintage Schoolbook Illustration “Learning Numbers” 1952

On average women today still earn just 77 cents for every dollar that men earn- a mere 17 cents on the dollar increase since the Equal Pay Act was enacted over 50 years ago in 1963.

vintage schoolbook illustrations

Vintage schoolbook Illustration

The figures are more dismal for women of color. An African-American woman is paid 64 cents and Latinas only 54 cents as compared to white men.

Changing Numbers Around


vintage schoolbook illustration

Vintage Schoolbook Illustration “Arithmetic We Need” 1955

Despite the figures, he Republicans continue to downplay and debate the idea of an income inequality.


Making Equal Parts


Vintage schoolbook illustrations

Vintage Schoolbook Illustration “Study Arithmetic” 1947

Today when President Obama calls on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act these images are surely dated but no more so than the fact that a gender wage gap still exists in 2014.

Vintage schoolbook illustration

Vintage Schoolbook Illustration “Arithmetic We Need” 1955


© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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