Thursday, April 23, 2009

Equal Pay Day

As I prepare to graduate and find a job, I’ve become increasingly aware of the "Wage Gap." As a young woman, more specifically, a woman of color, I will potentially earn less than my male counterparts who perform the same job. I find this particularly daunting, because I am about to earn a Master’s of Science in Education, and this degree does not exactly lead to a job with a huge pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Wondering what type of impact the wage gap might have on my future, I began to research pay equity and found some interesting facts.

-Tuesday, April 29, 2009 is Equal Pay Day. Equal Pay Day was created by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages.

-Equal Pay day symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work, on average, to earn as much as a man earned the previous year (This made me VERY ANGRY. Not only do I have to work a full year, but I also have to work a few additional months to catch up to a man’s salary from the previous year!!).

-Tuesday is the day of the week when women's wages catch up to men's wages from the previous week (Not surprising, this also made me mad, because now I have to work two additional days to catch up to a man’s weekly pay as well). Essentially, because women earn less, on average, than men, they must work longer for the same amount of pay.

-The wage gap is even greater for most women of color (someone just shoot me now)!!
I was both surprised and disturbed by these facts, and felt this topic should be addressed at NIU. As I started to research equal pay, I found a wealth of information on different websites, newspapers, and even on You Tube.

-One interesting article I found appeared on CNN’s website: There article discussed issues of pay equity and indicated that if current trends continue, women will not achieve pay equity until the year 2050 (insert various curse words here)!!! 2050! That date is nearly 100 years after President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law!

-With this information in mind, I decided that more women need to be aware of the disparity in pay. To help educate women and men at NIU, the Women’s Resource Center is hosting the Equal Pay Day Bake Sale on April 28, 2009 in the DuSable lobby. The goal of the program is to raise awareness about equal (or lack thereof) pay. Of course, to highlight the difference in pay rates, women will pay $.75 for baked goods and men will pay $1.00 (for the same treats). I hope to see everyone there! Also, don’t forget to wear red, as women are still "in the red" in terms of equal pay!!!

Thank you, and this is Jamie signing out!

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