HIGHLIGHTING THE PAY GAP
AAUW is committed to supporting “fairness in compensation, equitable access and advancement in employment, and vigorous enforcement of employment antidiscrimination statutes.”
Equal Pay Day was observed on April 4, 2017. But the fight for equal pay and workplace equity for women continues all year long through legislative advocacy, branch and IBC programs and activities, and articles in newsletters and newspapers. The material below was written for Equal Pay Day, but the information and suggested activities can be used at any time to educate members and the public and to promote workplace equity issues.
The date symbolizes how far into 2017 women must work to earn what men earned in 2016. According to national Census statistics released in 2013, women working full-time, year-round, make, on average, 78 cents for every dollar a male earns doing the same job. In California, women do slightly better, 85 cents on the dollar. Another year, another wage gap for women and their families. The pay gap is even worse for women of color – for African American women the gap is 64% compared to white men, and Hispanic women 54%. And with our inactive Congress and still-troubling economy, women continue to feel the pinch of the wage gap. AAUW members and our partners can work to help close the gap.
Other equal pay dates have been established for specific groups of women:
- March 7 – Asian American women
- July 31 – African American women
- September 25 – Native American women
- November 2 – Latina women
Action on Equal Pay Day has the objective of raising the awareness of the issue in our communities, with our members, and especially with young women who are under the false impression that pay inequity has been “taken care of”. While SB358 was enacted by the California Legislature in 2015, there is still much work to be done before it becomes a reality for all women.
Make Equal Pay Day a Day of Action in Your Community!
Draw Attention to Equal Pay Day! Here are some ideas:
- Collaborate with other like-minded organizations and organize a program open to the public. Invite local community leaders; local politicians, issue a press release; use AAUW research, e.g. Behind the Pay Gap; and The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap. The research allows us to say: “There is a wage gap and here are the numbers to prove it.”
- Submit a resolution for your county or city to declare – “Equal Pay Day.”
- Contact local jurisdictions and prepare resolution (sample at aauw.org) declaring April 4, 2017, “Equal Pay Day”; issue press release at same time. Branch members attend the meeting where resolution is read into the record.
- Submit an Op Ed, Letter to the Editor and use Social Media to get the word out.
- Leveraging traditional media to deliver the message on a specific issue is a good vehicle for AAUW members, e.g. op-eds, letters to the editor and blogs. Contact local newspapers stating facts from AAUW research about pay equity. Offer to prepare an article (op-ed) and/or a letter to the editor. Along with traditional media, ask members who are using social media to create the same message about the wage gap as a blog, a more updated form of communication among younger women.
- Use a Facebook and/or Twitter message directing others to AAUW press releases and blogs about equal pay.
- Do some clever giveaways. Cut the corner of a cookie off and place the ¾ cookie in a baggie with information about Equal Pay Day, then distribute. Another “give away” can be a Pay Day candy bar.
- Contact high school sociology, civics, political science classes and provide material developed by the Coalition for Equal Pay along with the “¾ cookie” distribution. A downloadable brochure and an Equal Pay Day Resource Kit available from Coalition for Equal Pay, Office of Women’s Policy, 70 W. Hedding Street, San Jose, CA 95110.
- C/U Partnerships – Contact women’s studies, sociology, and political science departments and ask for an opportunity to speak to a class about Pay Equity or ask for permission to conduct voter registration on campus on Equal Pay Day. Be aware of the rules and regulations concerning registering anyone to vote (online).
The national website has lots of information and ideas.