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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Equal Pay Day: 20% Discount for 20% Less Income

Yesterday was Equal Pay Day.  A day created by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 to highlight the gap between men and women's wages.  This day coincides with a long history of advocacy and policy aimed at closing the wage gap between men and women for the same jobs. 

A Brief History
The fight for Equal Pay started in 1963, when President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Law that made it illegal to pay women less for the same job as men.  In 1963 women made 59% of men's wages.  In comparison, in 2000 women made 74% of men's wages and in 2017 women make on average 80% of men's wages.  But unfortunately the pay disparity today isn't uniform across racial backgrounds.  Data from 2016 shows that most white and non-hispanic women make roughly 83% of men's salaries, Black women only make 66% and Hispanic women make a mere 60% of their male counterparts.  

It has not been an easy battle and it has taken far too long to close this gap.  It is estimated that at the current rate of closing, the pay gap will not become null until 2152.  It is through the support of Women's Rights Advocates and coordination with our Elected Officials that the gap has begun to close.  Unfortunately, legalities prevent most women from even discussing their wages.  In many companies, workers can be penalized for discussing their salaries with anyone.  In 2009, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which prohibits gender-based pay discrimination and allows women the ability to legally fight against such discrimination. How unbelievable is that? That it took roughly 46 years for women to be allowed to actually legally fight against pay gap discrimination!  

What Can We Do?
So what can we do in the mean time? How can we ensure that we will be paid on a more equal basis?  Here are a few ideas to help us close the gap ourselves:

1. Negotiate BEFORE You Get the Job.  Statistically, women who begin their careers at a lower pay will often stay at a lower pay for longer periods and will often never reach an equal pay ratio with men who work their same positions for equal periods.  Women in salary negotiations whould enter those negotiations armed with current statistics about their field's pay scale.  Many websites such as Glassdoor have programs that can be used to calculate your estimated worth.

2. Consider Pay As Only PART of the Package.  When negotiating for a higher pay scale or salary, consider also the other added benefits offered.  Often companies will be more willing to increase your benefits package than your pay.  Health Insurance, paid vacation, paid sick days, gas allowances, etc.. . can be used to increase what the company pays you without increasing your actual take-home pay.

3. Know Your RIGHTS.  Go into the interview process with thorough knowledge of your rights both in the interview and as an employee with that specific company.

4.  Don't Be Discouraged by a NO.  See any "no" answer as a stepping off point.  Use any "no" as a way to negotiate into a "yes".  Don't let the first "no" be the last answer you get.  Have you ever been to one of those markets where all prices are negotiable and you have to basically fight with the seller to get the price you want to pay?  Well, consider your pay scale and salary as just another of these types of transactions.

THANK YOU to the following companies (along with thousands of local companies) who stood by Women's Rights to equal pay yesterday:

 Google, who posted this on their twitter account:
Luna Bars (part of the Cliff Bar Company) is offering 20% off and 20% donated until 4-11

Proctor & Gamble, who offered a 20 percent rebate on their products

Lean In, who partnered with Hulu and Funny or Die to create this video documenting the 20% gap 

Don't think that the Pay Gap affects you?  
Well you might want to think again.  On average, if women made 20% more they would each individually earn almost $500,000 more over their lifetime.  That's money that could be saved for retirement, used to get out of debt, used to stay out of debt, allow more women to be home owners, help your children pay for college, allow you to go back to school, and even help support you in times when work is scarce.  Giving women equal pay would also reduce by almost half the number of women, children, and families that are dependent on welfare.  That means more independent women, children, and families that are no longer dependent on your tax dollars to put food on their tables.  Think, if those people weren't on welfare, what wondrous tax dollars could be used for!?  Research to treat breast cancer?  Better health coverage for women and children? improving our failing road systems? Moving us to a greener energy infrastructure?  Improving the pay gap could have positive impacts on all of us.

How has the Pay Gap impacted your life?  How did you participate in Equal Pay Day?  Do you have other suggestions for how to individually fight for equal pay?  Please share your RESPECTFUL comments below.


  1. Thank you. I learned something new or maybe that I had forgotten. Maybe if we keep fighting that gap will close sooner.

    1. I hope so! I can't imagine our daughters and granddaughters still facing this problem!

  2. Such an important topic and one I'm very passionate about. Unfortunately the gender gap grows astronomically when u also look at what upward opportunities are available. Choose a company that has and culture of equality with the statistics and reviews to back it up.

    1. Agree! It's not only the wages that are the issue, but the ability to move up the chain. While not all people have the option of "choosing" who they work for, especially in this economy, it is important for those of us that do make sure to support companies with the best equality standards

  3. Been there, done that on the pay scale. Grrrr. All the men made much more than I did and my boss didn't seem to think that was a problem. I left and the place folded. A lot of gross mismanagement and inflated salaries. Great post!

    1. That is unfortunately the case for sooooo many women! The only upside is that the company folded so that hopefully a newer more equitable company can rise up in it's place :)

  4. Thanks for this informative post! The pay gap is just crazy to me!

  5. This was very informative. I don't think many in canada here, pay close enough attention to it.

    1. I'm curious if you know if there is a pay gap in Canada? That would be interesting to compare the U.S. with other industrialized countries.