As you might imagine, I had a big discussion about equal pay with the girls on the day of this photo shoot for Human Rights. They were kind of shocked. A lot of them have brothers and they all have friends that are male. The girls were not at all happy that boys would be making more money than them for the same work. Good. They shouldn't be.
If I could have a similar conversation with all of the girls in this country I would say this:
Dear BOLD Girls:
Today is Equal Pay Day. It is not a day for celebration but rather a day that symbolizes how far into the next year a woman would have to work to earn what a man would have earned during the previous year. A man could have stopped working on New Year's Day and he and a woman would just today have equal income if the woman continued working for the last FOUR months.
If nothing changes, you will not earn as much money as your friends who are males for doing the same exact job. As of right now, for every single dollar a male earns, a female only earns .80 cents. So if a guy friend works with you at the movie theater, he could earn $10.00 per hour and you might only earn $8.00 per hour. Multiply that by a five-hour shift and he is earning $50.00, while you only get $40.00. Sound fair? Multiply that by an entire year and it looks something like this: If you both work three days a week for 50 weeks - your male friend would have earned $7,500. You? $6,000. He just earned $1,500 more than you for doing the same exact job. Because you are a girl.
Yep. What she said.
Now consider that you are an adult and you have a male friend/co-worker who earns $100,000 per year. If you hold the same exact position as your male coworker and you both have the same exact education, you, as a woman, could make just $80,000 per year. That is a $20,000 difference. Twenty THOUSAND dollars! In just one year! In a lifetime? Those numbers are even crazier. You could be looking at a loss of a million dollars or more in pay during your career, because you are female. And if you are a girl or woman of color, or a mother, or an aging woman, the numbers get even worse.
Should that make you mad? Yes!
It should make you really, really mad.
The gender pay gap is completely unfair and 100 percent fixable! But just being mad doesn’t fix anything. The only way to make change happen is to stand up and to speak out. Do something peaceful (letters, protests, emails, petitions, good old-fashioned phone calls to your representatives, wear an Equal Wages t-shirt, post an Equal Wages pic!) to show that you know you are being treated unfairly and that the gender pay gap is an unacceptable reality in this country. Knowledge is power. Talk about it! Use your voice, ask questions, stand up for other females, and for yourself. Make sure that you earn what you deserve - EQUAL PAY!!
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