I’m all for a good national celebration or holiday. Whether it's Independence Day, Thanksgiving, or New Year’s Day, bring out the balloons, confetti, and the delicious food. I’m ready.
However, when it comes to Equal Pay Day, this is a different type of “celebration” I would rather not have to see pop up on my calendar every year.
Why not? Well, for starters, it’s not necessarily a cheery day. There are no balloons, no delicious food, and no confetti. Instead there are women making their voices heard (and maybe drowning their sorrows in a bottle of red wine acknowledging that in the year 2017 we still have not achieved equality.)
Equal Pay Day symbolizes how far into the year women have to work to earn what a man made the previous year. On average, a white woman makes 80 cents to every dollar a man makes. An African-American woman makes less, at 64 cents on average. And a Hispanic woman makes even less, at 56 cents per every dollar a man makes on average.
So, as I mentioned, this day is one I would rather not have to celebrate — I think equal pay for equal work would be something way, totally better to celebrate. Don’t you agree?
If you didn't hear about Equal Pay Day this past year, that means you've missed it -- it happened on April 4.
But this means you have nearly a year to start planning for next year’s Equal Pay Day. Here are some ideas on what you can do in the meantime:
Read all about Equal Pay Day, the fight for fair pay, the gender gap, the wage gap, and women and discrimination in the workforce. There are plenty of resources and articles out there that dive into these issues.
You can also read books that discuss women’s fight for fair pay, like Lilly Ledbetter's Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond.
Don’t just stop there. If this subject interests you, then dive in deeper by reading current and passed equal pay legislation like The Equal Pay Act of 1963.
And since knowledge is power, be sure to share all your newfound insight with your friends, family members, co-workers, community members, strangers at the supermarket, and anyone else who you think should know more about this issue.
Chat with Your Elected Officials
You can send an email, mail a letter, hop on a phone call, or try to arrange a meeting with your local elected officials to discuss the importance of passing equal pay legislation in your state.
You can encourage them to co-sponsor bills that help women in the workplace and equal pay. Your elected officials are there to serve you and give your voice a platform; make sure you use it.
Attend an Event
Whether it’s an event that you organize yourself or one already happening in your city or town, be sure to get out there and make your voice heard. We have seen the power marches and protests have on impacting our country, giving a voice to our platforms, and empowering those to advocate for what they believe in.
And obviously, when the time comes around next year, actually attend an Equal Pay Day event in your area. If there isn’t an event, talk to your community about hosting one.
Join or Support Women’s Organizations
I find that there is power in community. There are plenty of women’s organizations that advocate for equal pay, as well as other women’s issues you may be passionate about.
Some you should check out are The American Association of University Women, League of Women Voters, and the National Organization for Women.
You can also take donate, volunteer, and support other organizations, nonprofits, and initiatives that fight for women’s equality.
So if you missed it in 2017, don't fret - start planning for next year!
Lisa Crocco is a freelance writer who can be found wandering the aisles of local bookstores or the streets of different cities.
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