As many of you know, this is Equal Pay Week, a time to refocus on the gender gap in pay between women and men. It’s hard to believe that even in 2012, U.S. women are still earning annually between 52 and 78 cents for every dollar men earn for the same jobs, with black women and Latinas earning less than white women.
According to Ariane Hegewisch, a study director at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “These gender wage gaps are not about women choosing to work less than men—the analysis is comparing apples to apples, men and women who all work full time.”
On Monday, I attended the 6th Annual Equal Pay Day NYC, hosted by the New York Women’s Agenda (NYWA), Equal Pay Coalition NYC (EPC-NYC), A Better Balance, and NYU Law Women. The forum presented New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and other NY officials championing equal pay, as well as panels and discussions on related issues such as women’s representation in the Senate (only 17%!) and how many women turn out to vote (only 20% in New York, and only 46.2% across the nation).
The turnout at the event was wonderful, especially on a Monday morning, but with the dire economic situation for women, not only shown in the wage gaps but also in the low numbers of women finding employment post-recession, you would think this event would have been standing-room only, particularly in New York City.
Where are all the women . . . in elected office, in voting booths, in management, and especially at the forefront of their communities, states, and the nation, demanding change, demanding to be heard and recognized?
Are women too caught up in meeting their immediate needs to stop and look at the bigger picture? Are women unaware that this problem still exists to this extreme? Or are women simply unsure about what exactly they can do?
NYWA and EPC-NYC presented some great ideas for women to get involved and Get Even in the workplace, as put by the nonprofit organization for women and the workplace, Catalyst.
- Email your governor, your senators and representatives, and your community leaders.
- Talk about pay equity online, in your blog, on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Turn your profile picture red because women are still in the red!
- Write letters to the editor, call radio talk shows and suggest that they talk about pay equity, and start the conversation with others.
- Host an Unhappy Hour with your friends to brainstorm ways to close the wage gap.
- Support organizations and politicians that are actively fighting pay equity, such as those mentioned in this post.
Equal pay, equal representation, and more women leading and managing will improve the lives of families, the profits of organizations, and the national and world economy. (see “How Being Successful Can Save the Planet.”) If we all commit to doing just one of these ideas—go on, put it on your calendar—we can make a difference not only in the lives and work of women but in the future of our world.
Image credit: Photograph by Daria Miroshnikova