On April 12, 2011, Equal Pay Day, cookies missing a ¼ piece will be distributed to local high school students to demonstrate the missing portion in a women’s paycheck. To match men’s earning for 2010, women have to work from January 2010 to April 2011 – an extra four months. Along with the cookies, participating high school social science teachers are provided with a lesson plan and material to teach their students about gender discrimination and pay equity. AAUW California branches in Santa Clara County partner with the Coalition for Equal Pay (Office of Women’s Policy) by contacting the high school teachers, assembling the over 1000 cookie bags, and assisting with delivery of cookies and material to the high schools. Throughout California, AAUW branches are initiating and participating in community programs that raise awareness on the issue of pay equity.
Through a USDOL Women’s Bureau Region IX and the Santa Clara County Office of Women’s Policy grant, a free “Equal Pay Day Resource Kit” is now available to organizations advocating for pay equity. The Resource Kit has been sent to requesting AAUW CA branches as well as branches in five other states in Region IX. The Resource Kits are available at the AAUW CA Convention in Irvine.
AAUW research, such as Behind the Pay Gap, keeps AAUW on the front lines of advocacy for pay equity. AAUW is listed on the resource list of this year’s Equal Pay Day brochure (www.equalpay.info). The launch of the campaign to reintroduce the Paycheck Fairness Act to the 112th Congress is a major focus of AAUW’s advocacy for equal pay for women. This federal legislation strengthens the penalties for equal pay violations and prohibits retaliation against workers who ask about employer’s wage practices or disclose their own wages. The House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act last year with strong bipartisan support. Now it’s up to the 112th Congress to reintroduce and then pass the legislation (it was short two votes at the 111th Congress). Watch for Action Alerts from AAUW CA and AAUW. The advocacy campaign includes op-eds and letters to the editor written by AAUW branch members throughout the nation and scheduled to appear in newspapers on April 12, 2011.
Women have made remarkable strides in education during the past three decades, but these gains have yet to translate into full pay equity. Women want full pay equityand the whole cookie!
- Gloria Leonard, AAUW CA Public Policy Committee
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